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Full text of "The belle's stratagem : a comedy"

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THE 

BELLE'S STRATAGEM, 

A 

COMEDY, 

AS ACTED AT THE 

THEA TRE-R OYAL, 

I N 

COVENT-GARDI3N. 



By Mrs. COWLEY, 
THE SECOND EDITION. 



LONDON: 
Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand* 
1787. 



V 




THE QUEEN. 



MADAM, 

In the following Comedy, my 
purpofe was, to draw a Female Character * 
which with the mod lively Senfibility, fine Un«^ 
derftanding, and elegant Accomplifh merits, fliould 
unite that beautiful Referve and Delicacy, which* 
whilft they veil thofe Charms, render them ftili 
more interefting. In delineating fuch a Character, 
my Heart naturally dedicated it to Your Majesty; 
and nothing remained, but permifllon to lay it at 
Your feet. Your Majefty's gracioufly allowing 
me this high Honour, is the point to which my 
hopes afpired, and a reward, of which without 
cenfure I may be proud. 

MADAM, 
With the warmeft wiflies for the continuance 
of your Majefty's felicity, 
1 am 

YOUR MAJESTY'S 
Moft devoted 

and moft dutiful Servant, 

//. Cowtey. 



2 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

Sav. If I was too impatient to a(k queftions, you oughf 
to have taken directions, blockhead ! 

Enter Courtall finging. 

Ha, Courtall !- Bid him keep the horfes in motion* 

and then enquire at all the chambers round. 

[Exit Servant, 

What the devil brings you to this part of the town ? — 
Have any of the Long Robes handfome wives, fitters or 
chambermaids ? 

Court. Perhaps they have 4>ut I came on a different 
errand ; and, had thy good fortune brought thee here half 
an hour fooner, I'd have given thee fuch a treat, ha ! 
ha! ha! 

Sav. Fm forry I mifs'd it : what was it ? 

Court. I was informed a few days fince, that my 
coufins Fallow were come to town, and defired earneftly 
to fee me at their lodgings in Warwick-Court, Holborn. 
Away drove I, painting them all the way as fo many 
Hebes. They came from the furtheft part of Northumber- 
land, had never been in town, and in courfe were made 
up of rufticity, innocence, and beauty. 

Sav. Well ! 

Court. After waiting thirty minutes, during which 
there was a violent buftle, in bounced five fallow dam- 
fels, four of them Maypoles; — the fifth, Nature, by 
way of variety, had bent in the iEfop flyle. — But they 
all opened at once, like hounds on a frefh fcent " Oh, 
M coufin Courtall ! — How do you do, coufm Courtall ! 
<c Lord, coufin, I am glad you are come ! We want you 
" to go with us to the Park, and the Plays, and the 
<c Opera, and Almack's, and all the fine places !"— 
The devil, thought I, my dears, may attend you, for I 
am furc I won't, -^-However, I heroically ftaycfd an hour 
with them, and difcovered the virgins were all come 
to town with the hopes of leaving it — Wives : — their heada 
full of Knight-Baronights, Fops, and adventures. 

Sav* 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 3 

Sav. Well,, how did you get off? 

Court, Oh, pleaded a million engagements. How- 
ever, conference twitched me 5 fo I breakfafled with 
them this morning, and afterwards 'fquired them to the 
gardens he;e 5 as the moft private place in town \ and then 
took a forrovvhil leave, complaining of my hard, hard 
fortune, that obliged me to fet off immediately for Dor- 
fetfhire, ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Sav. I congratulate your efcape ! — Cou'tall at Al- 
mack's, with five aukward country coufins ! ha ! ha ! ha ! 
-*-Why, your exiftence, as a Man of Gallantry, could 
never have furvived it. 

Court. Death, and fire ! had they come to town, like 
the ruftics of the laft age, to fee Paul's, the Lions, and 
the Wax-work— at their fervice but the coufins of our 
days come up Ladies? — and, with the knowledge they 
glean from magazines and pocket-books, Fine Ladies; 
laugh at the bafhfulnefs of their grandmothers, and 
boldly demand their entrees in the firft circles. 

Sav. Come, give me fome news. — I have been at 
war with woodcocks and partridges thefe two months 3 
and am a ftranger to all that has pafTed out of their 
region. 

Court. Oh ! enough for three Gazettes. The Ladies 
are going to petition for a bill, that, during the war, 
every man may be allowed two wives. 

Sav. 'Tis impoffible thev fhould fucceed, for the ma* 
jority of both Houfes know what it is to have one. 

Court. But prithee, Saville, how came you to town, 
whilfl all the qualified gentry are playing at pop-gun 
on Coxheath, and the country over-run with hares and 
foxes ? 

Sav. I came to meet my friend Doricourt, who, you 
know, is la'ely arrived from Rome. 

Court. Arrived ! Yes, faith, and has cut us all out ! 
•-His carriage, his liveries, his drefs, himfelf, are the 
Bl 1 rage 



4 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

rage of the day ! His firft appearance fet the whole Ton 
in a ferment, and his valet is befieged by levees of tay- 
Iors, habit-makers, and other Minifters of Falhion, to 
gratify the impatience of their cuftomers for becoming 
a la mode de Doricourt. Nay, the beautiful Lady Frolic* 
t'other night, with two lifter Countefles, infilled upon 
his waiftcoat for muffs ; and their fnowy arms now bear 
it in triumph about town, to the heart-rending affliction 
of all our Btaux Gordons. 

Sav. Indeed ! Well, thofe little gallantries will foon 
be over; he's on the point of marriage. 

Court. Marriage ! Doricourt on the point of marriage ! 
'Tis the happieft tidings you could have given, next tp> 
his being hanged — Who is the Bride elect ? 

Sav. I never faw her ; but 'tis Mifs Hardy, the rich 
heirefs — the match was made by the parents, and the 
courtlhip began on their nurfes knees $ Mafter ufed tor 
crow at Mifs, and Mifs ufed to chuckle at Mafter. 

Court. Oh ! then by this time they care no more for 
each other, than I do for my country coufins. 

Sav. I don't know that ; they have never met fince 
thus high, and fo, probably, have fome regard for each 
other. 

Court. Never met ! Odd ! 

Sav. A whim of Mr. Hardy's ; he thought his daugh- 
ter's charms would make a more forcible impreflion, if 
her lover remained in ignorance of them till his return 
from the Continent. 

Enter Saville'j Servant. 

Serv. Mr. Doricourt, Sir, has been at Counfellor 
Plcadwell's, a.nd gone about live minutes. 

[Exit Servant^ 

Sav. Five minutes ! Zounds ! I have been five mi- 
nutes too late all my life-time! — Good morrow, Court* 

all ; I mint purfue him. (Goirig.) 

Court t 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM* <£ 

Court. Promife to dine with me to-day ; I have fome 
honeft fellows. (Going off on the oppofite fide.) 

Sav. Can't promife ; perhaps I may. — See there, there's 
at bevy of female Patagonians, coming down upon us. 

Court. By the Lord, then, it muft be my ftrapping 
coufins.— I dare not look behind me — Run, man, run. 

[Exit on the fame fide* 

SCENE 11.—^ Hall at Doricourt'j. {A gentle knock 
at the door.) 
Enter the Porter, 
Port. Tap! What fneaking devil art thou? {Opens 
jbe door.) 

Enter Crowquill, 
So! I fuppofe you are one of Monfieur's cuftomers too? 
He's above flairs now, overhauling all his Honour's 
things to a parcel of 'em. 

Crowq. No, Sir; it is with you, if you pleafe, that 
I want to fpeak. 

Port. Me! Well, what do you want with me? 

Crowq. Sir, you muft know that I am — I am the Gen- 
tleman who writes the tete-a-tetes in the Magazines. 

Port. Qh, oh! — What, you are the fellow that ties 
folks together, in your fixpenny cuts, that never meet 
any where elfe ? 

Crowq. Oh, dear Sir, excufe me ! — we always go on 
foundation ; and if you can help me to a few anecdotes 
of your matter, fuch as what Marchionefs he loft money 
to in Paris — who is his favourite Lady in town — or the 
name of the Girl he firft made love to at College — or any 
incidents that happened to his Grandmother, or Great 
aunts — a couple will do, by way of fupporters — I'll weave 
a web of intrigues, loffes, and gallantries, between them, 
that (hall fill four pages, procure me a dozen drnners, 
and you, Sir, a bottle of wine for your trouble. 

Port. Oh, oh ! I heard the butler talk of you, when 
I lived at Lord Tinkers. But what the devil do you 

Rieaa 



6 THE BELLE'S. STRATAGEM, 

mean by a bottle of wine !— You gave him a crown for 
a retaining fee. 

Crowq. Oh, Sir, that was for a Lord's- amours 5 a 
Commoner's are never but half. Why, I have had a 
Baronet's for five (hillings, though he was a married 
man, and changed his miftref* every fix weeks. 

Port, Don't tell me ! What fignifies a Baronet, or a 
bit of a Lord, who, may be, was never further than fun. 
and fun round London ? We have travelled, man ! My 
mafter has been in Italy, and over the whole ifland of 
Spain; talked to the Queen of France, and danced with 
her at a mafquerade. Ay, and fuch folks don't go to 
mafquerades for nothing ; but mum— not a word more. 
— Unlefs you'll rank my mafter with a Lord, I'll not be 
guilty of blabbing his fecrets, I allure you. 

Crowq. Well, Sir, perhaps you'll throw in a hint or 
two of other families, where you've lived, that may be 
worked up into fomething ; and fo, Sir, here is one, two* 
three, four, five millings. 

Port. Well, that's honeft, [pocketing the money). To 
tell you the truth, I don't know much of my matter's 
concerns yet; — but here comes Monfieur and his gang: 
I'll pump them : they have trotted after him all round 
Europe, from the Canaries to the Ifle of Wight, 

Enter feveral foreign Servants and two Trade/men. 
( The Porter takes one of them afide.) 

Tradefm, Well then, you have fhew'd us all ? 

French. AH, en verity Mejfeurs! you avez feen every 
ting* Serviteur^ ferviteur* [Exeunt Tradefmen* 

Ah, here comes one autre curious Englishman, and 
dat's one autre guinea pour mot. 

Enter Saville, 

Aliens^ Monfuur, dis way; I will mew you tings, fuch 
tings you never fee, begar, in England!— -velvets by Le? 

Mou\ 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 7 
Mofle, fuits cut by Verdue, trimmings by Groflette, 
embroidery by Detanville— 

Sav. Puppy !— where is your mafter ? 

Port. Zounds ! you chattering frog-eating dunder- 
head, can't you fee a Gentleman ? — 'Tis Mr. Saville. 

Frenchm. Monfieur Saville ! Je fuis mort de p£ur. — 
Ten toufand pardons ! Excufez mon erreur, and permit 
me you conduct to Monfieur Doricourt ; he be too 
happy a vous voir. [Exeunt Frenchman and Saville* 

Port. Step below a bit ; — we'll make it out fomehow I 
—I fuppofe aflice of firloin won't make the ftory go down 
the worfe. [Exeunt Porter and Crowquill. 

SCENE III. — An Apartment at Doricourt'/. 
Enter Doricourt. 

Doric. (JpeaUng to a fervant behind.) I {hall be too late 
for St. James's j bid him come immediately. 

: Enter Frenchman and Saville. 

Frenchm. Monfieur Saville. [Exit Frenchman. 

Doric. Moft fortunate! My dear Saville, let the 
Warmth of this embrace fpeak the pleafure of my heart. 

Sav. Well, this is fome comfort, after the fcurvy 
reception I met with in your hall. — 1 prepared my 
mind, as I came up flairs, for a bon jour, a grimace, and 
an adieu. 

Doric. Why fo ? 

Sav. Judging of the mafter from the reft of the family. 
What the devil is the meaning of that flock of foreigners 
below, with their parchment faces and fnuffy whifkersr 
What! can't an Englifiiman ftand behind your carriage, 
buckle your fhoe, or brufh your coat? 

Doric. Stale, my dear Saville, ftale ! Englifhmen make 
thebeft Soldiers, Citizens, Artizans, and Philofophers in 
the world j but the very word: footmen. I keep French 

fellows 



I THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

fellows and Germans, as the Romans kept Haves ; be- 
caufe their own countrymen had minds too enlarged and 
haughty to defcend with a grace to the duties of fuch a 
ilation* 

Sav. A good excufe for a bad practice. 

Doric. On my honour, experience will convince yotl 
of its truth. A Frenchman neither hears, fees, nor 
breathes, but as his mafter directs ; and his whole fyftem 
of conduct is compriz'd in one fhort word, Obedience / 
An Englifhman reafons, forms opinions, cogitates, and 
difputes; he is the mere creature of your will : the other, 
a being confcious of equal importance in the univerfal 
fcale with yourfelf, and is therefore your judge, whilft 
he wears your livery* and decides on your actions with 
the freedom of a cenfor. 

Sav. And this in defence of a cuftom I have heard 
you execrate, together with all the adventitious manners 
imported by our Traveled Gentry. 

Doric. Ay, but that was at eighteen ; we are always very 
wife at eighteen. But confider this point; we go into 
Italy, where the fole bufinefs of the people is to ftudy and 
Improve the powers of mufic : we yield to the fafcination, 
and grow enthufiafts in the charming fcience : we travel 
over France, and fee the whole kingdom compofing or- 
naments, and inventing fafliions : we condefcend to avail 
ourfelves of their induftry, and adopt their modes : we 
return to England, and find the nation intent on the moft 
important objects ; Polity, Commerce, War, with all the 
Liberal Arts, employ her fons ; the latent fparks glow 
afrefh within our bofoms i the fweet follies of the Con- 
tinent imperceptibly Aide away, whilft Senators, Statef- 
men, Patriots and Heroes, emerge from the virtu of Italy, 
and the frippery of France. 

Sav. I may as well give it up ! You had always the 
art of placing your faults in the beft light 5 and I can't 

help 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 9 

help loving you, faults and all : fo, to ftart a fubject which 
muft pleafe you, When do you expect Mifs Hardy? 

Doric. Oh, the hour of expectation is pafr. She is ar- 
rived, and I this morning had the honour of an interview 
at Pleadwell's. The writings were ready; and, in obedi- 
ence to the will of Mr. Hardy, we met to fign and feal. 

Sav. Has the event anfwered ? Did your heart leap, 
or fink, when you beheld your Miftrefs? 

Dork. Faith, neither one nor t'other : file's a fine girl, 
as far as mereflefli and blood goes. But 

Sav. But what ? 

Doric. Why, file's only a fine girl ; complexion, fhape, 
and features j nothing more. 
Sav. Is not that enough ? 

Doric. No ! fhe fhould have fpirit ! fire ! Pair enjoue f 
that fomething, that nothing, which every body feels, 
and which nobody can defcribe, in the refiftlefs charmers 
of Italy and France. 

Sav. Thanks to the parfimony of my father, that kept 
me from travel ! I would not have loft my relifh for true 
unaffecled Englifh beauty, to have been quarrell'd for 
by all the Belles of Verfailles and Florence. 

Doric. Pho! thou haft no tafte. Englijh beauty! 
'Tis infipidity ; it wants the zeft, it wants poignancy, 
Frank ! Why, I have known a Frenchwoman, indebted 
to nature for no one thing but a pair of decent eyes, 
reckon in her fuite as many Counts, MarquifTes, and 
Pettis MaitreSy as would fatisfy three dozen of our firft- 
rate toafts. I have known an Italian Marquiz'ma make 
ten conquefts in ftepping from her carriage, and carry 
her flaves from one city to another, whofe real intrinfic 
beauty would have yielded to half the little Grifettes thac 
pace your Mall on a Sunday, 

Sav. And has Mifs Hardy nothing of this? 

Doric. If fhe has, fhe was pleafed to keep it to herfelf, 
J was in the room half an hour before I could catch the 
C coloux 



iff THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM, 



colour of her eyes ; and every attempt to draw her into 
converfation occafioned fo cruel an embarrafTment, that I 
was reduced to the neceffity of news, French fleets, and 
Spanifti captures, with her father. 

Sav, So Mifs Hardy, with only beauty, modefty, and 
merit, is doom'd to the arms of a hufband who will 
defpife her. 

Doric. You are unjufr. Though (he has notinfpir'd 
me with violent paflion, my honour fecures her felicity. 

Sav. Come, come, Doricourt, you know very well 
that when the honour of a hufband is locum*tewens for hi» 
heart, his wife muft be as indifferent as himfelf, if fhe is 
not unhappy. 

Doric. Pho! never moralife without fpe£focles. But, 
as we are upon the tender fubje£t, how did you bear 
Touchwood's carrying Lady Frances ? 

Sav. You know I never look'd up to her with hope, 
and Sir George is every way worthy of her. 

Doric. A la mode Angloife y a philofopher even in love. 

Sav. Come, I detain you — you feem drefs'd at all 
points, and of courfe have an engagement. 

Doric. To St. James's. I dine at Hardy's, and ac- 
company them to the mafquerade in the evening: but 
breakfaft with me to-morrow, and we'll talk of our old 
companions ; for I fwear to you, Saville, the air of the 
Continent has not effac'd one youthful prejudice or at- 
tachment. 

Sav. —With an exception to the cafe of Ladies and 
Servants. 

Doric. True; there I plead guilty : — but I have never 
yet found any man whom I could cordially take to my 
heart, and call Friend, who was not born beneath a 
Britifli fky, and whofe heart and manners wers not 
truly Engliih. 

Doricourt and Saville. 



SCENE 



-THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM, n 

SCENE IV.— An Apartment at Mr. Hardy'*. 
Villers feated on a Jopha 9 reading. 
Enter Flutter. 

Flut. Hah, Villers, have you feen Mrs. Rackett ?~ 
Mifs Hardy, I find, is out. 

fill. Ihave not feen her yet. I have made a voyage to 
.Lapland fihce I came in. {Flinging away the book.) A 
( Lady at her toilette is as diiEeult to be moved, as a 
Quaker. [Yawning.) What events have h^ppene<l in the 
world fmce yefterday ? have you heard ? 

Flut. Oh, yes ; I ftopt at Tatterfall's as I came by, 
.and there I found Lord James Jeflamy, Sir William 

Wilding, and Mr. 1 — ♦ But, now I think on't, you 

fha'n't know a fy liable of the matter;, for 1 have been in- 
Jbrmed you never believe above one half of what I fay. 

Fill. My dear fellow, fomebody has impofed upon you 
moftegregioufly ! — Half! Why, I neyer Relieve one tenth 
,part of what you fay; that is, according to the plain and 
literal expreflion : but, as I understand you, your intelli- 
gence is amufing, 

Flut. That's very Jlard now, very hard,, I n,ever re- 
lated a falfiry in my life, unlefs I {tumbled on it by mif- 
take; and if it were otherwife, your dull matter-of-facl: 
people are infinitely obltg'd to thole warm imaginations 
which foar intoii&ion to amufe you; for, pofitiveiy, the 
common events of this little dirty world are not worth 

talking about, unlefs you embellifti 'em! Hah! here 

comes Mrs. Rackett: Adieu to weeds, I fee! Ail life! 

Enter Mrs, Rackett. 
Enter, Madam, in all your charms! Villers has been 
abufing your toilette for keeping you fo long ; but I thin^ 
we are much oblig'd to it, and fo are you. . 

Mrs. Rack. How fo, pray? Good-morning t'ye botb|i 
Here, here's a hand a-piece for you. [They kifs her hands. 

Flut. How fo! Becaufe it has given you fo many 
l>eauties. 

C 3 Mrs. Rack* 



12 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

Mrs. Rack. Delightful compliment ! What do yott 
think of that, Villers? 

Fill. That he and his compliments are alike — (hewy, 

but won't bear examining. So you brought Mifs 

Hardy to town laft night ? 

Mrs. Rack. Yes, I fhould have brought her before, 
but I had a fail from my horfe, that confined me a week. 

I fuppofe in, her heart (he wiflied me hanged a dozen 

times an hour. 

Flut. Why? 

Mrs. Rack. Had {be not an expecting lover in town 
all the time? She meets him this morning at the Law- 
yer's.— I hope (he'll charm himj (he's the fweeteft girl 
in the world. 

Fill. Vanity, like murder, will out. — You have con- 
vinced me you think yourfelf more charming. 
Mrs. Rack. How can that be? 

Fill. No woman ever praifes another, unlefs fhe thinks 
herfelf fuperior in the very perfections fhe allows. 

Flut. Nor no man ever rails at the fex, unlefs he is 
confcious he deferves their hatred. 

Mrs. Rack. Thank ye, Flutter— I'll owe ye a bouquet 
for that. I am going to vifit the new-married Lady 
Frances Touchwood. — Who knows her hufband ? 

Flut. Every body. 

Mrs. Rack. Is there not fomething odd in his cha- 
racter ? 

Fill. Nothing, but that he is pafTtonately fond of his 
w if e ; — and fo petulant is his love, that he open'd the cage 
of a favourite bullfinch, and fent it to catch butterflies, 
becaufe fhe rewarded its fong with her kifles, 

Mrs. Rack. Intolerable manner ! Such a brute de- 
serves ■ * 

Fill. Nay, nay, nay, nay, this is your lex now. — — 
Give a woman but one ftroke of character, off (he goes, 
lilfe a ball from a racket $ fees the whole man, marks 

him. 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 13 



him down for an angei or a devil, and fo exhibits him 
to her acquaintance. — This monfter! this brute! is one 
of the worthier! fellows upon earth; found fenfe, and a 
liberal mind ; but doats on his wife to fuch excefs, that 
he quarrels with every thing (he admires, and is jealous 
of her tippet and nofegay. 

Mrs. Rack. Oh, lefs love for me, kind Cupid ! T can 
fee no difference between the torment of fuch an afiec- 
tion, and hatred. 

Flut. Oh, pardon me, inconceivable difference, incon- 
ceivable; I fee it as clearly as your bracelet. In the one 
cafe the hufband would fay, as Mr. Snapper faid t'other 
day, Zounds ! Madam, do you fuppofe that my table, and 
my houfe, and my pictures ! — -d-propos, des Bottes. There 
was the divineft Plague of Athens fold yefterday at Lang- 
ford's! the dead figures fo natural, you would have fworn 
ihey had been alive ! Lord Primrofe bid five hundred — 
Six, faid Lady Carmine — A thoufand, faid Ingot the 
Nabob. — Down went the hammer. — A rouleau for your 
bargain, faid Sir Jeremy Jingle. And what anfwer do 
you think Ingot made him ? 

Mrs. Rack. Why, took the offer. 

Flut. Sir, I would oblige you, but I buy this piclure 
to place in the nurfery: the children have already j/ot 
Whittington and his Cat ; 'tis juft this fize, and they'll 
make good companions. 

Mrs. Rack. Ha! ha! ha! Well, I proteft that's juft 
the way now — the Nabobs and their wives outbid one at 
every fale, and the creatures have no more tafte 

Fill. There again ! You forget this ftory is told by 
Flutter, who always remembers every thing but the 
circumftances and the perfon he talks about : — 'twas 
Ingot who offer'd a rouleau fo^ the bargain, and Sir 
Jeremy Jingle who made the reply. 

Flut. Egad, I believe you are right. — Well, the ftory 
i§ a$ good one way as t'other, you know. Good morning. 

I am 



U THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM, 

I am going to Mrs. Crotchet's concert, and in my way 
back mall make my bow at Sir George's. (Going.) 

Vill. I'll venture every figure in your taylor's bill, you 
make fome blunder there. 

Flut. {turning back.) Done! My taylor's bill has not 
been paid theie two years; and I'll open my mouth with 
as much care as Mrs. Bridget Button, who wears cork 
plumpers in each cheek, and never hazards more than 
fix words for fear of fhewing them. [Exit Flutter, 

Mrs. Rack. 'Tis a good-natur'd infignificant creature! 

let in every-where, and cared for no-where. There's 

Mifs Hardy return'd from Lincoln's-Inn (he feems 
rather chagrin'd. 

Vill. Then I leave you to your communications. 

Enter Letitia, followed by her Maid* 

Adieu ! I am rejoiced to fee you fo well, Madam ! but I 
rnufl tear myfelf away. 

Letit. Don't vanifh in a moment. 

Vill. Oh, inhuman ! you are two of the mod dangerous 
women in town. — Staying here to be cannonaded by four 
fuch eyes, is equal to a rencontre with Paul Jones, or a 

midnight march to Omoa ! They'll fwallow the non- 

ienfe for the fake of the compliment. ( Afide.) 

[Exit Villers. 

Letit. (gives her cloak to her filaid.) Order Du Quefne 
never to come again ; he fhall pofitiveiy drefs my hair no 
more, [Exit Maid.] And this odious filk, how unbe~ 
coming it is! — I was bewitched to chufe it. (Throwing 
herfelf on a fopha, and looking in a pocket-glafs^ Mrs. Rackett 
Jlaring at her.) Did you ever fee fuch a fright as I am 
to-day ? 

Mrs. Rack. Yes, I have feen you look much worfe. 

Letit. How can you be fo provoking? If I do not look 
this morning worfe than ever I look'd in my life, I am 
naturally a fright. You (hall have it which way you will, 

Mrs. Rack* 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. i$ 

Mrs. Rack. Juft as yoir pleafe ; but pray what is the 
meaning of all this ? 

LetiU (rijing.) Men are all diffemblers ! flatterers! 
deceivers ! Have I not heard a thoufand times of my air, 
my eyes, my (hape — all made for victory ! and to-day, 
when I bent my whole heart on one poor conqueft, I 
have proved that all thofe imputed charms amount to no- 
thing ;— for Doricourt faw them unmov'd. — A hufband 
of fifteen months could not have examin'd me with more 
cutting indifference. 

Mrs. Rack. Then you return it like a wife of fifteen 
months,- and be as indifferent as he. 

Letlt. Aye, there's the fling ! The blooming boy, 
■who left his image in my young heart, is at four and 
twenty improv'd in every grace that fix'd him there. It 
is the fame face that my memory, and my dreams, con- 
ftantly painted to me; but its graces are finifhed, and 
every beauty heightened. How mortifying, to feel my— 
felf at the fame moment his flave, and an object of per- 
fect indifference to him ! 

Mrs. Rack. How are you certain that was the cafe ? 
Did you expect him to kneel down before the lawyer, his 
cierks, and your father, to make oath of your beautv? 

Letlt. No; but he fhould have look'd as if a fudden, 
ray had pierced him ! he fhould have been breathlefs ! 
jpeechlefs ! for, oh! Caroline, all this was I. 

Mrs, Rack. I am forry you was fuch a fool. Can 
you expect a man, who has courted and been courted by- 
half the fine women in Europe, to feel like a girl from 
a board ing-fchool ? He is the prettieft fellow you have 
ieen, and in courfe bewilders your imagination ; but he 
has feen a million of pretty women, child, before he 
faw you ; and his firft feelings have been over long 
ago. 

Letlt. Your raillery diftreffts me; -but I will touch 
his heart, or never be his wife. » 

Mrs. Rath 



16 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM; 



Mrs. Rack. Abfurd, and romantic! If you haven® 
reafon to believe his heart pre-engaged, be fatisfied ; 
if he is a man of honour, you'll have nothing to com* 
plain of. 

Letiu Nothing to complain of! Heav'ns ! fhall I 
marry the man I adore, with fuch an expectation as 
that ? 

Mrs. Rack. And when you have fretted yourfelf 
pale, my dear, you'll have mended your expectation 
greatly. 

Letit. {paujing.) Yet I have one hope. If there is any 
power whofe peculiar care is faithful love, that power I 
invoke to aid me. 

Enter Mr. Hardy. 

Hardy, Well, now; wasn't I right? Aye, Letty ! 
Aye, Coufin Rackett ! wasn't I right ? I knew 'twould 
be fo. He was all agog to fee her before he went abroad ; 
and, if he had, he'd have thought no more of her face, 
snay be, than his own. 

Mrs. Rack. May be, not half fo much. 

Hardy. Aye, may be fo : — but I fee into, things ; ex- 
actly as I forefaw, to-day he fell defperately in love with 
the wench, he ! he ! he ! 

Letit. Indeed, Sir ! how did you perceive it ? . 

Hardy. That's a pretty queftion ! How do I perceive 
every thing ? How did I forefee the fall of corn, and the 
rife of taxes ? How did I know, that if we quarrelled with 
America, Norway deals would be dearer ? How did I 
foretel that a war would fink the funds ? How did I 
forewarn Parfon Homily, that if he didn't fome way or 
other contrive to get more votes than Rubrick, he'd lofe 
the ledurefhip ? How did I—But what the devil 
makes you fo dull, Letitia ? I thought to have found 
you popping about as brifk as the jacks of your harpfi- 
chord. 

Lettti 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 17 

Letit. Surely, Sir, 'tis a very ferious occafion. 

Hardy, Pho, pho ! girls mould never be grave be- 
fore marriage. How did you feel, Coufin, beforehand ? 
Aye ! 

Mrs. Rack. Feel ! why exceedingly full of cares. 
Hardy, Did you ? 

Mrs. Rack. I could not fleep for thinking of my 
coach, my liveries, and my chairmen; the tafte of 
clothes I fhould be prefented in, diftradled me for a 
week ; and whether 1 fhould be married in white or lilac, 
gave me the molt cruel anxiety. 

Letit. And is it poffible that you felt no other care ? 

Hardy. And pray, of what fort may your cares be, 
Mrs, Letitia ? I begin to forefee now that ycu have 
taken a diflike to Doricourt. 

Letit. Indeed, Sir, I have not. 

Hardy. Then what's all this melancholy about ? 
A'n't you going to be married ? and, what's more, to. a 
fenfible man ? and, what's more to a young girl, to a 
handfome man ? And what's all this melancholy for, 
I fay? 

Mrs. Rack. Why, becaufe he is handfome and fen- 
fible, and becaufe (he's over head and ears in love with 
him; all which, it feems, your foreknowledge had not 
told you a word of. 

Letit. Fye, Caroline! 

Hardy. Well, come, do you tell me what's the mat- 
ter then? If you don't like him, hang the figning and 
fealing, he (han't have ye:-»-and yet I can't fay that 
neither ; for you know that eftate, that coil his father and 
me upwards of fourfcore thoufand pounds, muft go all to 
him if you won't have him: if he won't have you, in- 
deed, 'twill be all yours. All that's clear, engrofs'd upon 
parchment, and the poor dear man fet his hand to it 
whilft he was a dying. — u Ah !" faid 1, " I forefee you'll 
<c never live to fee 'em come together; but their firft foil 

D (hall 



18 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 



" fhall be chriftened Jeremiah after you, that I promife 

« you." But come 3 1 fay 3 what is the matter? Don't 

you like him ? 

Leilt. I fear, Sir— if I mud fpeak — I fear I was lefs 
agreeable in Mr. DoricourtVeyes, than he appeared in 
mine. 

Hardy. There you are miftaken ; for I afked him, 
and he told me he liked you vaftly. Don't you think he 
muft have taken a fancy to her ? 

Mrs. Rack. Why really I think fo, as I was not by. 

Letit, My dear Sir, I am convinced he has notj but 
if there is fpirit or invention in woman, he fhall. 

Hardy. Right, Girl ; go to your toilette 

Letit, It is not my toilette that can ferve me : but a 
plan has ftruck me, if you will not oppofe it, which flat- 
ters me with brilliant fuccefs. 

Hardy. Oppofe it ! Not I indeed ! What is it? 

Letit. Why, Sir — it may feem a little paradoxical ; 
but, as he does not like me enough, I want him to like 
me {till lefs, and will at our next interview endeavour to 
heighten his indifference into diflike. 

Hardy. Who the devil could have forefeen that ? 

Mrs. Rack. Heaven and earth 1 Letitia, are you fe- 
rious ? 

Letit. As ferious as the moft important bufinefs of my 
life demands. 

Mrs. Rack. Why endeavour to make him diflike 
you ? 

Letit, Becaufe 'tis much eafier to convert a fentiment 
into its oppofite, than to transform indifference into 
tender paflion. 

* Mrs. Rack. That m?y be good philofophy, but I am 
afraid you'll rind it a bad maxim. 

Letit. I have the ftrongeit confidence in it. I am in- 
fpired with unufual fpirits 5 and on this hazard willingly 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 19 

flake my chance for happinefs. I am impatient to begin. 
my meafures. [Exit Lericia. 

Hardy, Can you forefee the end of this, Coufin ? 

Mrs. Ruck. No, Sir; nothing lefs than your pene- 
tration can do that, I am fure ; and I can't (lay now to 
confider it. I am going to cail on the Ogles, and then 
to Lady Frances Touchwood's, and then to an Auction, 
and then — I don't know where — but I (hall be at home 
time enough to witnefs this extraordinary interview. 
Good-bye. [Exit Mrs. Rackett. 

Hardy. Well, 'tis an odd thing — I can't underftand 
it — but I forefee Letty will have her way, and fo I Iha'n't 
give myfelf the trouble to difpute it. [Exit Hardy, 

END of the FIRST ACT, 



ACT II. 
SCENE I.— Sir George fouchwpoi% 

JLntcr Doricourt and Sir George, 

Doricourt. 

MARRIED, ha! ha! ha! you, whom I heard in 
Paris fay fuch things of the fex, are in London 3 
married man. 

Sir Geo. The fcx is {till what it has ever been fince 
la petite morale banifhed fubftantial virtues; and rather 
than have given my name to one of your high-bred fa- 
fhionable dames, I'd have croffed the lir.e.in a iire-fhip, 
and married a Japanefc. 

D 2 Doric* 



20 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 



Doric. Yet you have married an Englifli beauty - } yea, 
and a beauty born in high life. 

Sir Geo. True; but (he has a fimplicity of heart and 
manners, that would have become the fair Hebrew dam- 
fels toafted by the Patriarchs. 

Doric. Ha ! ha ! Why, thou art a downright matri- 
monial Quixote. My life on't, (he becomes as mere a 
Town Lady in fix months as though fhe had been bred to 
the trade. 

Sir Geo. Common — common — (contemptnoujly). No, 
Sir, Lady Frances defpifes high life fo much from the 
ideas I have given her, that (he'll live in it like a fala- 
niander in fire. 

Doric. Oh, that the circle dans la place Vicloire could 
witnefs thy extravagance ! I'll fend thee off to St. 
Evreux this night, drawn at full length, and coloured 
after nature, 

Sir Geo. Tell him then, to add to the ridicule, that 
Touchwood glories in the name of Hufband ; that he has 
found in one Englifliwoman more beauty than French- 
men ever faw, and more goodnefs than Frenchwomen 
can conceive. 

Doric. Well — enough of defcription. Introduce me 
to this Phcenix; I came on purpofe. 

Sir Geo. Introduce ! — oh, aye, to be fure! — I believe 
Lady Frances is engaged juft now — but another time. — 
How handfome the dog looks to-day ! [Aftde. 

Doric. Another time ! — but I have no other time.— 
"Sdeath ! this is the only hour I can command this fort- 
night! 

Sir Geo. [JJide.] I am glad to hear it, with all my foul. 
—So then, you can't dine with us to-day ? That's very 
unlucky. 

Doric. Oh, yes — as to dinner— yes, I can, I believe, 
contrive to dine with you to-day. 

Sir Ge<t. 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 21 



Sir Geo. Pfha! I didn't think on what I was faying; 
I meant fupper.— You can't fup with u§ ? 

Doric. Why, fupper will be rather more convenient 
than dinner. — But you are fortunate — if you had afk'd ms 
any other night, I could not have come. 

Sir Geo. Tb-night ! — 'Gad, now I recoiled!, we are 
particularly engaged to-night. — But to-morrow night 

Doric, Why look ye, Sir George, 'tis very plain you 
liave no inclination to let me fee your wife at all; fo 
here I fit (throws bimfelf on a fopba.) — There's my hat, 
and here are my legs. — Now I fha'n't ftir till I have feen 
her; and I have no engagements: I'll breakfaft, dine, 
and fup with you every day this week. 

Sir Geo. Was there ever fuch a provoking wretch! — 
But, to be plain with you, Doricourt, I and my houfe 
are at your fervice : but you are a damn'd agreeable fel- 
low, and ten years younger than I am ; and the women, 
I obferve, always fimper when you appear. For thefe 
reafons, I had rather, when Lady Frances and I are to- 
gether, that you fhould forget we are acquainted, further 
than a nod, a fmile, or a how-d'ye. 

Doric. Very well. 

Sir Geo. It is not merely yourfelf in propria perfenk 
that I object to; but, if you are intimate here, you'll 
make my houfe frill more the famion than it is ; and it 
is already fo much fo, that my doors are of no ufe to me. 
I married Lady Frances to engrofs her to myfelf; yet fuch 
is the blelTed freedom of modern manners, that, in fpite 
of me, her eyes, thoughts, and converfation, are conti- 
nually divided amongft all the Flirts and Coxcombs of 
Falhion. 

Dork. To be fure, I confefs that kind of freedom h 
carried rather too far. 'Tis hard one can't have a jewel 
in one's cabinet, but the whole town muft be gratified 
with its luftre.— — He (ha'n't preach me out of feeing 
Wife, though, (Jfide,) 

S;r Geo* 



i% THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM, 



Sir Geo. Well, now, that's reafonable. When you 
take time to reflect, Doricourt, I always obferve you de* 
cide right, and therefore I hope ■ ■ 

Enter Servant. 

Serv. Sir, my Lady defires 

Sir Geo. I am particularly engaged. 

Doric. Oh, Lord, that {hall be no excufe in the 

world (leaping from tbtfopba). Lead che ^ay, John - 

I'll attend your Lady. [Exit, following the Servant* 

Sir Geo. Whai devii pofitffed me to salk about her !— 
Here, Doricourt ! {running after him.) Doricourt! 

Enter Mrs. Rackett, and Mifs Ogle, followed by a Servant, 

Mrs. Rack. Acquaint your Lady, that Mrs, Rackett, 
and Mifs Ogle, are here. [Exit Servant. 

Mifs Ogle. I fhall hardly know Lady Frances, 'tis fo 
long fince I was in Shropmire. 

Mrs. Rack. And 1*11 be fworn you never faw her out 
of Shropfhire.— Her father kept her locked up with his 
Caterpillars and Shells ; and loved her beyond any thing 
—but a blue Butterfly, and a petrified Frog! 

Mifs Ogle.' Ha! ha! ha! — Well, 'twas a cheap way 
of breeding her: — you know he was very poor, though 
a Lord ; and very high-fpirited, though a Virtuofo.— * 
In town, her Pantheons, Operas, and Robes de Cour, 
would have fwallowed his Sea- Weeds, Moths, and Mon- 
gers, in fix weeks ! — Sir George, I find, thinks his 
Wife a moll: extraordinary creature: he has taught her 
to defpife every thing like Faftiionable Life, and boafts 
that example will have no effecT; on her, 

Mrs. Rack. There's a great degree of impertinence in 
all that. — I'll try to make her a Fine Lady, to humble 
him. 

Mifs Ogle. That's juft the thifig I wifli. 

Enter 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. i$ 

Enter Lady Frances. 

Lady Fran. I beg ten thoufand pardons, my dear Mrs. 
Rackett.— Mifs Ogle, I rejoice to fee you : I mould 
have come to you fooner, but I was detained in convef- 
fation by Mr. Doricourt. 

Mrs. Rack. Pray make no apology; I am quite happy 
that we have your Ladyfhip in town at laft. — What itay 
do you make ? 

Lady Fran. A fhort one ! Sir George talks with regret 
of the fcenes we have left ; and as the ceremony of pre- 
fentation is over, will, I believe, foon return. 

Mifs Ogle. Sure he can't be fo cruel ! Does your 
Ladyfhip wifh to return fo foon ? 

Lady Fran. I have not the habit of confulting my own 
wilhes ; but, I think, if they decide, we fhall not return 
immediately. I have yet hardly form'd an idea of 
London. 

Mrs. Rack. I fhall quarrel with your Lord and Maftcr, 
if he dares think of depriving us of you fo foon. How 
do you difpofe of yourfelf to-day ? 

Lady Fran. Sir George is going with me this morning 
to the mercer's, to chufe a filk ; and then— — 

Mrs. Rack. Chufe a filk for you ! ha! ha! ha! Sir 
George chufes your laces too, 1 hope ; your gloves, and 
your pincufhions ! 

Lady Fran. Madam ! 

Mrs. Rack. I am glad to fee you blufh, my dear Lady 
Frances. Thefe are ftrange homefpun ways ! If you do 
thefe things, pray keep 'em fecret. Lord blcfs us ! If the 
Town mould know your hufband chufes your gowns I 

Mifs Ogle. You are very young, my Lady, and have 
been brought up in folitude. The maxims you learnt 
among the Wood-Nymphs in Shroplhirc, won't pafs 
current here, I allure you. 

Mrs. Rack. Why, my dear creature, you !cok quite 
frighten'd !— Come, you (hall go with us to an ExhibU 
<* & lion* 



S4 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM, 

tion, and an Auction. — Afterwards, we'll take a turn in 
the Park, and then drive to Kenfington fo we fhall be 
at home by four, to drefs ; and in the evening I'll attend 
you to Lady Brilliant's mafquerade. 

Lady Fran, i fhall be very happy to be of your party, 
if Sir George has no engagements. 

Mrs. Rack. What ! Do you ftand fo low in your own 
opinion, that you dare not truft yourfelf without Sir 
George I If you chufe to play Darby and Joan, my dear, 
you fhould have fray'd in the country 5- — ^tis an Exhibi- 
tion not calculated for London, I affure you ! 

Mi fs Ogle. What, I fuppofe, my Lady, you and Sir 
George will be feen pacing it comfortably round the 
Canal, arm and arm, and then go lovingly into the fame 
carriage; — dine tete-a-tete^ fpend the evening at Picquet, 
and fo go foberly to bed at Eleven ! — Such a fnug plan 
may do for an Attorney and his Wife; but, for Lady 
Frances Touchwood, 'tis as unfuitable as linfey- wool fey, 
or a black bonnet at the Fejiino ! 

Lady Fran. Thefe are rather new doctrines to me !— 
But, my dear Mrs. Rackett, you and Mifs Ogle muft 
^udge of thefe things better than I can. As you obferve, 
I am but young, and may have caught abfurd opinions. — 
Here is Sir George ! 

Enter Sir George. 

Sir Geo. (Jfide.) 'Sdeath! another room full! 

Lady Fran. My love ! Mrs. Rackett, and the Mifs 
Ogles. 

Mrs. Rack, Give you joy, Sir George. — We came to 
rob you of Lady Frances for a few hours. 
Sir Geo. A few hours ! 

Lady Fran. Oh, yes ! I am going to an Exhibition, 
and an Auction, and the Park, and Kenfington, and a 
thoufand places ! — It is quite ridiculous, I find, for 
married people to be always together. — We lhall be 
laughed at! 

Sir Geo. 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 25 

Sir Geo. I am aftonifhed !— Mrs. Rackett, what does 
the dear creature mean ? 

Mrs. Rack. Mean, Sir George ! — what fhe fays, I 
imagine. 

Mifs Ogle, Why, you know, Sir, as Lady Frances 
had the misfortune to be bred entirely in the country, flic 
cannot be fuppofed to be verfed in Fafhionable Life. 

Sir Geo. Mo ; Heav'n foibid fhe fhould !— If foe had, 
Madam, (he would never have been my Wife ! 

Mrs. Rack. Are you ferious ? 

Sir Geo. Perfectly fo. — I fhould never have had the 
courage to have married a well-bred Fine Lady. 

Mifs Ogle. Pray, Sir, what do you take a Fine Lady 
to be, that you exprefs fuch fear of her ? [Sneeringly. 

Sir Geo. A being eafily defcribed, Madam, as (he is feen 
every-where, but in her own houfe. She fleeps at home, 
but fhe lives all over the town. In her mind, every fenti- 
ment gives place to the Luft of Conqueft, and the va- 
nity of being particular. The feelings of Wife, and 
Mother, are loft- in the whirl of diffipation. If fhe 
continues virtuous, 'tis by chance — and if fhe preferves 
her Hufband from ruin, 'tis by her dexterity at the 
Card-Table ! — Such a Woman I take to be a perfect 
Fine Lady ! 

Mrs. Rack. And you I take to be a flanderous Cynic 
of two-and-thirty. — Twenty years hence, one might 
have forgiven fuch a libel ! — Now, Sir, hear my defini- 
tion of a Fine Lady :— She is a creature for whom Na- 
ture has done much, and Education more ; fhe has Tafte, 
Elegance, Spirit, Understanding. In her manner fhe is 
free, in her morals nice. Her behaviour is undiftin- 
guifhingly polite to her Plufband, and all mankind ; — her 
fentiments are for their hours of retirement. In a word, 
a Fine Lady is the life of converfation, the fpirit of 
fociety, the joy of the public ! — Pleafiue follows when- 
ever fhe appears, and the kindeft wifhes attend her flum- 

E bers, 



26 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM, 



bers. — Make hafte, then, my dear Lady Frances, com- 
mence Fine Lady, and force your Hulband to acknow- 
ledge the juftnefs of my picture. 

Lady Fran, I am fure 'tis a delightful one. How can 
you diflike it, Sir George ? You painted Fafhionable Life 
in colours fo difgufting, that I thought I hated it 3 but, 
on a nearer view, it feems charming. I have hitherto 
lived in obfcurity 5 'tis time that I mould be a Woman 
of the World. I long to begin ; — my heart pants with 
expectation and delight ! 

Mrs. Rack. Come, then 5 let us begin direclly. I am 
impatient to introduce you to that Society, which you 
were born to ornament and charm. 

Lady Fran. Adieu ! my Love ! — We {hall meet again 
at dinner. {Going.) 

Sir Geo. Sure, I am in a dream !— Fanny! 

Lady Fran. (Returning.) Sir George? 

Sir Geo. Will you go without me ? 

Mrs. Rack. Will you go without me! — Ha! ha! ha? 
■what a pathetic addrefs ! Why, fure you would not always" 
be feen fide by fide, like two beans upon a (talk. Are you 
afraid to truft Lady Frances with me, Sir ? 

Sir Geo. Heaven and earth ! with whom can a man 
truft his wife, in the prefent ftate of fociety ? Formerly 
there were diftin&ions of character amongft ye : every 
clafs of females had its particular defcription ; Grand- 
mothers were pious, Aunts difcreet, Old Maids cenfo- 
rious ! but now aunts, grandmothers, girls, and maiden 
gentlewomen, are all the fame creature ; — a wrinkle 
more or lefs is the fole difference between ye. 

Mrs. Rack. That Maiden Gentlewomen have loft their 
cenforioufnefs, is furely not in your catalogue of griev- 
ances. 

Sir Geo. Indeed it is — and ranked amongft the moft 
ferious grievances. — Things went well, Madam, when the 
tongues of three or four old Virgins kept all the Wives 

and 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 27 

and Daughters of a parifti in awe, They were the Dragons 
that guarded the Hefpeiian fruit.; and I wonder they 
have not been oblig'd, by act of parliament, to refume 
their function. 

Mrs. Rack. Ha ! ha ! ha ! and penfion'd, I fuppofe, 
for making ftrict enquiries into the lives and conventions 
of their neighbours. 

Sir Geo. With all my heart, and impowered to oblige 
every woman to conform her conduct to her real fituation. 
You, for inftance, are a widow : your air {hould be fe- 
date, your drefs grave, your deportment matronly, and in 
all things an example to the young women growing up 
about you ! — 'Inftead of which, you are drefsM for con- 
quefr, think of nothing but enfnaring hearts ; are a Co- 
quette, a Wit, and a Fine Lady. 

Mrs. Rack. Bear witnefs to what he fays ! A Coquette! 
a Wit ! and a Fine Lady ! Who would have expected an 
eulogy from fuch an ill-natur J d mortal! — Valour to a 
Soldier, wifdom to a Judge, or glory to a Prince, is not 
more than fuch a character to a Woman. 

Mifs Ogle. Sir George, I fee, languifhes for the charm- 
ing fociety of a century and a half ago; when a grave 
'Squire, and a {till graver Dame, furrounued by a fober 
family, form'd a fliff groupe in.a mouldy old houfe in the 
corner of a park. 

Mrs. Rack. Delightful ferenity ! Undifturb'd by any 
noife but the cawing of rooks, and the quarterly rumbling 
of an old family-coach on a ftate-vifit ; with the happy 
intervention of a friendly call from the Parifh Apothecary, 
or the Curate's Wife. 

Sir Geo. And what is the fociety of which you boaft ? 
— a mere chaos, in which all diftinction of rank is loft in a 
ridiculous affectation of cafe, and every different order of 
beings huddled together, as they were before the crea- 
tion. In the fame fekci party, you will often find the wife 
of a Bifliop and a Sharper, of an Earl and a Fidler. In 
E a ihort 



&8 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

fhort, 'tis one univerfal mafquerade, all difguifed in the* 
fame habits and manners. 

Serv. Mr. Flutter. . [Exit Servant. 

Sir Geo. Here comes an illuftration. Now I defy you 
to tell from his appearance, whether Flutter is a Privy 
Counfellor, or a Mercer, a Lawyer, or a Grocer's 'Prentice. 

Enter Flutter. 

Flut. Oh, jufl: which you pleafe, Sir George ; fo you 

don't make me a Lord Mayor. Ah, Mrs. Rackett! 

Lady Frances, your moft obedient - y you look — now hang 
me, if that's not provoking ! — had your gown been of 
another colour, I fhould have faid the prettieft thing 
you ever heard in your life. 

Mifs Ogle. Pray give it us. 

Flut. I was yefterday at Mrs. Bloomer's. She was 
drefs'd all in green ; no other colour to be feen but that of 
her face and bofom. So fays I, My dear Mrs. Bloomer ! 
you look like a Carnation, juft burfting from its pod. 

Sir Geo, And what faid her Hufband ? , 

Flut. Her Hufband ! Why, her Hufband laygh'd, and 
faid a Cucumber would have been a happier fimile. 

Sir Geo. But there are Hufbands, Sir, who would 
rather have corrected than amended your comparifon; I ? 
for inflance, fhould confider a man's complimenting my 
Wife as an impertinence. 

Flut. Why, what harm can there be in compliments? 
Sure they are not infectious; and, if they were, you, Sir 
George, of all people breathing, have reafon to be fatisfied 
about yourLady's attachment; every body talks of it : that 
little Bird there, that (he killed out of jealoufy, the moft 
extraordinary inftanceof affection that ever was given. 

Lady Fran. I kill a Bird through jealoufy ! — Heavens ! 
Mr. Flutter, how can you impute fuch a cruelty to me ? 

Sir Geo. I could have forgiven you, if you had. 

Flut. Oh, what a blundering Fool ! — No, no — now I 
remember — 'twas your Bird, Lady Frances — that's it ; 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 59 

your Bullfinch, which Sir George, in one of the refine- 
ments of his paffion, fent into the wide world to leek its 
fortune. — He took it for a Knight in difguife. 

Lady Fran. Is it poilible ! Oh, Sir George, could I 
have imagin'd it was you who depriv'd me of a creature I 
was fo fond of? 

Sir Geo. Mr. Flutter, you are one of thofe bufy, idle, 
meddling people, who, from mere vacuity of mind, are 
the mod dangerous inmates in a family. You have neither 
feelings nor opinions of your own ; but, like a glafs in a 
tavern, bear about thofe of every blockhead, who giv€s 
you his; — and, becaufe you mean no harm, think your- 
felves excus'd, though broken friendfhips, difcords, and 
murders, are the confequenees of your indiicretions. 

Flut. (Taking out his tablets.) Vacuity of Mind! — ■ 
What was the next ? I'll write down this fermon ; 'tis 
the firft I have heard fince my Grandmother's funeral. 

Mifs Ogle. Come, Lady Frances, you fee- what a cruel 
creature your loving hufoand can be; fo let us leave him. 

Sir Geo. Madam, Lady Frances (hall not go. 

Lady Fran. Shall not, Sir George ! — This is the firft 
time fueh an expreffion— — — - (TVecpi-.g, 

Sir Geo. My love ! my life ! 

Lady Fran. Don't imagine I'll be treated like a child ! 
denied what I wifh, and th-n pacified with fweet words. 

Mifs Ogle, (apart.) The Bullfinch! that's an excel- 
lent fubjecl: ; never let it down. 

Lady Fran. I fee plainly you would deprive me of 
every pleafure, as well as of my fweet Bird — out of pure 
love ! — Barbarous man ! 

Sir Geo. 'Tis well, Madam ; — your refentment of that 
circumftance proves to me, what I did not before fuf- 
pe£t, that you are deficient both in tendcrnefs and un- 
derftanding. — Tremble to think the hour approaches, in 
which you would give worlds for fuch a proof of my 
love. Go 3 Madam, give yourfelf to the Public; abandon 

your 



3 o THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

your heart to diflipation, and fee if, in the fccnes of 
gaiety and folly that await you, you can find a recom- 
pence for the loft affection of a doating Hufband. 

[Exit Sir George. 

Flut. Lord ! what a fine thing it is to have the gift of 
Speech ! I fuppofe Sir George pradtifes at Coachmakers- 
hall, or the Black Horfe in Bond-ftreet. 

Lacy Fran* He is really angry ; I cannot go. 

Mrs. Rack. Not go ! Foolifh creature ! you are arrived 
at the moment, which fome time or other was fure to 
happen, and every thing depends on the ufe you make of it. 

Mifs Ogle. Come, Lady Frances ! don't hefitate.! — 
the minutes are precious. 

Lady Fran. I could find in my heart ! — and yet I 
won't give up neither. — If I fhould in this inftance, hell 
expect it for ever. 

[Exeunt Lady Frances, and Mrs. Rackets 

Mifs Ogle. Now you act like a woman of fpirit. 

[Exeunt Mifs Ogle, and Mrs. Rackets 

Flut. A fair tug, by Jupiter— between Duty and Plea- 
fuie !— Pleafure beats, and off we go, Jij triumpbe / 

[Exit Flutter, 

Scene changes to an Auction Rocm.~Bi{fts, Ficlures^ 6fo 
Enter Silvertongue with three Puffers. 

Silv. Very well — very well. — This morning will be 
devoted to curiofity ; my fale begins to-morrow at eleven. 
But, Mrs. Fagg, if you do no better than you did in Lord 
Fillagree's fale, I (hall difcharge you,— You want a 
knack terribly : and this drefs-^why, nobody can miftake 
you for a Gentlewoman. 

Fag. Very true, Mr. Silvertongue; but I can't drefs 
like a Lady upon Half-a-crown a day, as the faying is — * 
If you want me to drefs like a Lady, you mull double my 
pay. Double or quits, Mr. Silvertongue. 

Silv. Five Shillings a day ! what a demand ! Why, 

Woman ? there are a thoufand Parfons in Town, who 

don't 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 31 

don't make Five Shillings a day 5 though they preach, 
pray, chriften, marry, and bury, for the good of the com- 
munity. — Five Shillings a day! — why, 'tis the pay of a 
Lieutenant in a marching Regiment, who keeps a Ser- 
vant, a Miftrefs, a horfe fights, dreiTes, ogles, makes 
love, and dies upon Five Shillings a day. 

Fag, Oh, as to that, all that's very right. A Soldier 
fhould not be too fond of life ; and forcing him to do all 
thefe things upon Five Shillings a day, is the readiefi way 
to make him tir'd on't. 

Silv. Well, Malk, have you been looking into the 
Antiquaries ? — have you got all the terms of art in a 
firing— aye ? 

Majk, Yes, I have : I know the Age of a Coin by the 
tafte; and can fix the Birth-day of a Medal, Amio Mundi 
or Anno Domini, though the green ruft mould have eaten 
up every character. But you know the brown fuit and 
the wig I wear when I perfonate the Antiquary, are in 
Limbo. 

Silv, Thofe you have on, may do. 

Majk. Thefe! — Why, in thefe I am aj^oung travelPd 
Cognofcento: Mr. Glib bought them of Sir Tom Tetter's 
Valet; and I am going there diretily. You know hh 
Picture-Sale comes on to-day; and I have got my head 
full of Parmegiano, Sal Rofa, Metzu, Tarbaek> and 
Vandermeer. I talk of the relief of Woovermans, the 
fpirit of Teniers, the colouring of the Venetian School, 
and the corre&nefs of the Roman. I diftinguifh Claude 
by his Sleep, and Ruyfdael by his Water. The rapidity 
cf Tintoret's pencil (bikes me at the firft glance ; whilifc 
the harmony of Vandyk, and the glow of Correggio, 
point out their Mailers. 

Enter Company, 

ift.Lady. Hey-day, Mr. Silvertongue ! what, nobody 
here ! 

Silv, Oh, my Lady, we fhall have company enough 

in 



32 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

in a trice ; if ycur carriage is feen at my door, no othef 
will pafs it, 1 am fure. 

\Jl Lady. Familiar monfter \ (JJide.) That's a beau- 
tiful Diana, Mr. Silvertongue; but in the name of Won- 
der, how came Aclseon to be placed on the top of a. 
ho ufe ? 

Stto: That's a David and Bathfheba, Ma'am. 

Lady. Oh, I crave their pardon ! — I remember the 
Names, but know nothing of the Story. 

More Company enters. 

ijl Gent. Was not that Lady Frances Touchwood, 
coming up with Mrs. Rackett? 

id Gent.. I think f o ; — yes, it is, faith. Let us gO 

nearer. 

Enter Lady Frances, Mrs. Rackett, and Mifs Ogle. 

Silp. Yes, Sir, this is to be the firft Lot :— the Model 
of a City, in wax. 

2d Gent. The Model of a City ! What City ? 

Szh. That I have not been able to difcover ; but calf 
it Rome, Pekin, or London, 'tis ftill a city: you'll find 
in it the fame jarring interefts, the fame paffions, the 
fame virtues, and the fame vices, whatever the name. 

Gent. You may as well prefent us a Map of Terra 
Incognita. 

SHv. Oh, pardon me, Sir! a lively imagination would 
convert this waxen City into an endlefs and interefting 
amufement. For inftance— look into this little houfe on 
the right hand ; there are fotir old Prudes in it, taking care 
of their Neighbours Reputations. This elegant manfion 
on the left, decorated with Corinthian pillars — who 
needs be told that it belongs to a Court Lord, and is the 
habitation of Patriotifm, Philofophy, and Virtue ? Here's 
a City Hall — the rich fteams that iflue from the windows, 
nourifti a neighbouring Work-houfe. Here's a Church — - 
we'll pafs over that, the doors are (hut. The Parfonage- 
houfe comes next \ — we'll take a peep here, however. — 

Look 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 33 

.Look at the Doctor ! he's afleep on a volume of Tolanci • 
whilft his Lady is putting on rouge for the Mafquerade. — 
Oh ! oh! this can be no EnglifL City ; our Parfons are 
all orthodox, and their Wives the daughters of Modefty 
and Meeknefs. 

Lady Frances and Mifs Ogle come forward, followed by 
Courtall 

Lady Fran. I wifh Sir George was here.— This man 
follows me about, and flares at me in fuch .a way, that I 
am quite uneafy. 

Mifs Ogle. He has travelFd, and is heir to an immenfe 
eftate ; fo he's impertinent by Patent. 

Court. You are very cruel, Ladies. Mifs Ogle — you 
will not let me fpeak to you. As to this little fcornful 
Beauty^ (he has frown'd me dead fifty times. 

Lady Fran. Sir — I am a married Woman.. (Confused.) 

Court. A married Woman ! a good hint. [J/Jde.J 
'Twould be a fhame if fuch a charming Woman was not 
married. But I fee you are a Daphne juft come from 
your deep, and your meadows ; your crook, and your 
water-falls. Pray now, who is the happy Damon, to 
whom you have vow'd eternal truth and conftancy ? 

Mifs Ogle. 'Tis Lady Frances Touchwood, Mr. 
Courtall, to whom you are fpeaking 

Court. Lady Frances ! By Heaven, that's Saville's old 
flame. [Jftde.] I beg your Ladyfhip's pardon. I ought 
to have believed that fuch beauty could belong only to 
your Name — a Name I have long been enamoured of ; 
becaufe I knew it to be that of the fineft Woman in the 
world. 

Mrs. Racket comes forward. 
Lady Fran. (Apart) My dear Mrs. Racket, I am fo 
frightened ! Here's a man making love to me, though he 
knows I am married. 
Mrs. Rack. Oh, the fopner for that, my dear > don't 
F mind 



34 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

mind him. Was you at the Caffmo laft night, Mr. 
Courtall? 

Court. I look'd in. — 'T was impoffible to flay. No 
body there but Antiques, You'll be at Lady Brilliant's 
to-night, doubtlefs ? 

Mrs. Rack* Yes, I go with Lady Frances. 

Lady Fran. Blefs me ! I did not know this Gentleman 
was acquainted with Mrs. Rackett. — I behaved fo rude 
to him! [To Mifs Ogle*] 

Mrs. Rack. Come, Ma'am ; (looking at her Watch) 'tis 
paft one. I proteft, if we don't fly to Kenfington, we 
iha'n't find a foul there. 

Lady Fran. Won't this Gentleman go with us ? 

Court. (Looking furpriz'd.) To be fure, you make me 
happy, Madam, beyond defcription. 

Mrs. Rack. Oh, never mind him — he'll follow. 
[Exeunt Lady Frances, Mrs* Racket, and Mifs Oglei 

Court. Lady Touchwood ! with a vengeance ! But, 'tis 
always fo ; your referved Ladies are like Ice, 'egad !— 
no fooner begin tofoften, than they melt. 

[Following*. 
END of the SECOND ACT. 

ACT III. 

SCENE h Mr. Hardy'/. 

Enter Letitia and Mrs. Racket. 
Mrs. Racket. 

(>|OME, prepare, prepare ; your Lover is coming. 

Letit. My Lover !— -Confefs now that my abfence at 
dinner was a fevere mortification to him. 

Mrs; 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 35 

Mrs. Rack, I can't afcfolutely fwear it fpoilt his appe- 
tite ; he eat as if he was hungry, and drank his wine as 
though he liked it. 

Letit. What was the apology ? 

Mrs. Rack. That you were ill but I gave him a 
hint, that your extreme baflifulnefs could not fupport his 
eye. 

Lent. If I comprehend him, aukwardnefs and bafh- 
fulnefs are the laft faults he can pardon in a woman ; fo 
expect to fee me transform'd into the verieft maukin. 

Mrs. Rack. You perfevere then ? 

Letit. Certainly. I know the defign is a rafh one, and 
the event important it either makes Doricourt mine 
"by all the tendered ties-of paffion, or deprives me of him 
forever; and never to be his wife will aiHicx me lefs, 
than to be his wife and not be belov'd, 

Mrs. Rack. So you won't truft to the good old maxim 
— " Marry firft, and love will follow r" 

Letit. As readily as I would venture my laft guinea, 
that good fortune might follow. The woman that has not 
touch'd the heart of a man before he leads her to the altar ? 
has fcarcely a chance to charm it, when pofleffion and 
fecurity turn their powerful arms againft her.— But here 
he comes.— I'll difappear for a moment.— Don't fpare 
me. 

[Exit Letitia, 
Enter Doricourt (not feeing Mrs. Racket.) 
Doric. So ! [Looking at a Piclure.) this is my miftrefs, 
I prefume. — Ma foil the painter has hit her off — The 
downcaft eye— the blufhing cheek — timid— apprehenfive 
— bafhful. — A tear and a prayer-book would have made 
Jier La Bella Magdalena — > 

Give me a woman in whofe touching mien 

A mind, a foul, a polifh'd art is feen ; 

Whofe motion fpeaks, whofe poignant air can move : 

Such are the darts to wound with endlefs love, 

$ 2 Mrs. 



36 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

Mrs. Rack. Is that an impromptu ? (Touching him en 
the Jhoulder with her fan.) 

Doric (parting.) Madam ! — (Afide.) Finely caught ! 
*— Not abfolutely — it ftruck me during the deiTert, as a 
motto for your picture. 

Mrs. Rack. Gallantly turn'd ! I perceive, howev 
Mifs Hardy's charms have made no violent impreffion on 
you. — And who can wonder ? — the poor girl's defects 
are fo obvious. ' % 

Doric. Defects ! 

Mrs. Rack. Merely thofe of education. -^Her father's 
indulgence ruin'd her. — Mauvaife honte. — conceit and 
ignorance — all uri^e in^ii^ Lady you are to marry. 

Doric. Marry ! I marry fuch a woman ! — Your pic-» 
ture, 1 hope, is overcharged. — I marry mauvaife honte^ 
pertnefs and ignorance ! 

Mrs. Rack. Thank your ftars, that uglinefs and ill 
temper are not added to the lift. — You muft thjnk her 
handfome? 

Doric. Half her perfonal beauty would content me; 
but could the Medicean Venus be animated for me, and 
endowed with a vulgar foul, J fhould become the frame, 
and my heart transform'd to marble. 

Mrs. Rack. Blefs us 1— We are in a hopeful way 
then ! 

Doric, {dfide.) There muft be fome envy in this !— 
I fee file is a coquette. Ha, ha, ha ! And you imagine 
I am perfuaded of the truth of your character ? ha, ha, ha ! 
Mifs Hardy, I have been aflur'd, Madam, is elegant and 
accomplifhed : ■ «but one muft allow for a Lady's 
painting. 

Mrs. Rack. [Afide.) I'll be even with him for that 
Ha, ha, ha ! and fo you have found me out !— Well, 
"I proteil I meant no harm ; 'twas only to increafe the 
eclat of her appearance, that I threw a veil over her 

charms. Here comes the Lady- — her elegance and 

accomplifhments will announce themfelves. Enter 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 37 



Enter Letitia, running. 

Letlt, La ! Coufin, do you know that our John — oh 
dear heart !— I didn't fee you, Sir. {Hanging down her 
Lead, and dropping behind Mrs. Racker.J 

Mrs. Rack. Fye, Letitia ! Mr. Doricourt thinks you-a 
Woman of elegant manners. Stand forward and confirm 
his opinion. 

Letit. No, no ; keep before me. — He's my Sweetheart; 
and 'tis impudent to look one's Sweetheart in the face, 
you know. 

Mrs. Rack. You'll allow in future for a Lady's paint- 
ing, Sir. Ha, ha, ha ! 
Doric. I am aftoninVd ! 

Letit. Well, hang it, I'll take heart.— Why, he is but 
a Man, you know, Coufin ; — and I'll let him fee I was'nt 
born in a Wood to be fcar'd by an Owl. (Half apart', 
advances and locks at him through her fingers*) He, he, he ] 
(Goes up to him, and makes a very JMff formal curtefy.) — 
(He bows.) — You have been a great traveller, Sir, I hear? 

Doric. Yes, Madam. 

Letit. Then I wifli you'd tell us about the fine fights 
you faw when you went over-fea, — I have read in a book, 
that there are fome countries where the Men and Women 
are all Horfes. — Did you fee any of them ? 

Mrs. Rack. Mr. Doricourt is not prepared, my dear, 
for thefe enquiries; he is reflecting on the importance of 
the queftion, and will anfwer you— —when he can. 

Letit. When he can ! Why, he's as flow in fpeech as 
Aunt Margery, when (he's reading Thomas Aquinas ; — 
and ltands gaping like mum-chance. 

Mrs. Rack. Have a little difcretion/ 

Letit. Hold your tongue ! — Sure I may fay what I 
pleafe before I am married, if I can't afterwards.— D'ye 
think a body does not know how to talk to a Sweetheart. 
He is not the flrft I have had. 

Doric. Indeed ! 

Letit. 



38 THE BELLE's STRATAGEM. 

Letit. Oh, Lud ! He fpeaks!— Why if you mull 
know — there was the Curate at home When Papa was 
a-hunting, he ufed to come a fuitoring, and make 
fpeeches to me out of books.— No body knows what a 
mort of fine things he ufed to fay to me 5— and call me 
Venis, and Jybah, and Dinah ! 

Dork. And pray, fair Lady, how did you anfwer him ? 

Letit. Why, I ufed to fay, Look you, Mr. Curate, 
don't think to come oyer me with your flim-flams ; for 
a better Man than ever trod in your fhoes, is coming over- 
fea to marry me ; — but, ifags ! I begin to think I was out, 
^-Parfon Dobbins was the fprightfuller man of the two. 

Doric. Surely this cannot be Mifs Hardy ! 

Letit. Laws ! why, don't you know me ! You faw me 
to-day — but I was daunted before my Father, and the 
Lawyer, and all them ; and did not care to fpeak out :— • 
fo, may be, you thought I couldn't but I can talk as 
faft as any body, when I know folks a little : — -and now I 
have Ihewn my parts, I hope you'll like me better. 
Enter Hardy. 

Hardy. I forefee this won't do ! — Mr. Doricourt, may 
be you take my Daughter for a Fool 5 but you are mif- 
taken : fhe's as fenfible a Girl as any in England. 

Doric. I am convinced (he has a very uncommon un- 
derstanding, Sir. (JJide.) I did not think he had been 
fuch an Afs. 

Letit, My Father will undo the whole.— -Laws ! Papa, 
how can you think he can take me for a Fool ! when 
every body knows I beat the Potecary at Conundrums 
hft Chriftmas-time ? and didn't I make a ftring of names, 
all in riddles, for the Lady's Diary ? — There was a little 

River, and a great Houfe ; that was Newcaftle. 

There was what a Lamb fays, and three Letters $ that 
was Ba, and k-e-r, ker, Baker. — There was— 

Hardy. Don't ftand ba-a-ing there. You'll make me 
mad in a moment ! — I tell you, Sir, that for all that, (he's 
dev'Ufli fenfible* 

Doric* 



THE feELLE'S STRATAGEM. 39 

Doric. Sir, I give all poflible credit to your affertions. 

Letit. Laws ! Papa, do come along. If you ftand 
watching, how can my Sweetheart break his mind, and 
tell me how he admires me ? 

Doric. That would be difficult, indeed, Madam, 

Hardy, I tell you, Letty, Til have no more of this.— 
I fee well enough— 

Letit. Laws ! don't fnub me before my Hufband — that 
is to be. — -You'll teach him to fnub me too, — -and I be- 
lieve, by his looks, he'd like to begin now. — So, let us 
go, Coufin; you may tell the Gentleman what a genus I 
have — how I can cut Watch-papers, and work Cat-gut; 
make Quadrille-bafkets with Pins, and take Profiles in 
Shade : ay, as well as the Lady at N°. 62, South Moul- 
ton-ftreet, Grofvenor-fquare. [Exit Hardy and Letitia. 

Mrs. Rack. What think you of my painting, now ? 

Doric. Oh, mere water-colours. Madam ! The Lady 
has caricatured your picture. 

Mrs. Rack, And how does (he ftrike you on the whole ^ 

Doric. Like a good defign, fpoilt by the incapacity of 
the Artift. Her faults are evidently the refult of her Fa- 
ther's weak indulgence. I obferved an expreffion in her 
eye, that feemed to fatyrife the folly of her lips, 

Mrs. Rack. But at her age, when Education is fixed, 
and Manner becomes Nature — hopes of improvement — 

Doric. Would be as rational, as hopes of Gold from a 
Jugler's Crucible.— Doricourt's Wife mull: be incapable 
of improvement s but it muft be becaufe ftie's got beyond 
it. 

Mrs. Rack. I am pleafed your misfortu le fits no heavier. 
Doric. Your pardon, Madam ; fo mercurial was the 
hour in which I was born, that misfortunes always go 
plump to the bottom of my heart, like a pebble in water, 
and leave the furface unruffled.— I fhall certainly fet off 
for Bath, or the other world, to-night ; — but whether I 
. fhall u& a chaife With four fwift courfers, or go off in a 

tangent*— 



40 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

tangent — from the aperture of a piftol, deferves confider- 
ation; fo 1 make my adieus* {Going.) 

Mrs. Rack, Ob, but I intreat you, poflpone your jour- 
ney 'till to-morrow ; determine on which you will— you 
muft be this night at the Mafquerade. 

Doric* Mafquerade ! 

Mrs. Rack, Why not? — If you refolve to vifit the 
other world, you may as well take one night's pleafure 
firil in this, you know. 

Doric, Faith, that's very true; Ladies are the be& 
PhiJofophers, after all. Expect me at the Mafquerade. 

[Exit Doricourc. 

Mrs. Rack, He's a charming fellow ! — I think Letitia 
UiaVt have him, (Going,) 

Enter Hardy. 

Hardy, What's he gone ? 
i Mrs. Rack, Yes ; and I am glad he is. You would 
have ruined us ! — Now, I beg, Mr. Hardy, you won't in- 
terfere in this bufinefs ; it is a little out of your way. 

[Exit Mrs, Racket. 

Hardy. Hang me, if I don't though. I forefee very 
clearly what will be the end of it, if I leave ye to your- 
felves ; fo I'll e'en follow him to the Mafquerade, and 
tell him all about it : Let me fee.— What fhall my drefs 
be ? A Great Mogul ? No. — A Grenadier ? No 3 — no, 
that, I forefee, would make a laugh. Harig me, if I don't 
fend to my favourite little Quick, and borrow his Jew 

Ifaac's drefs : 1 know the dog likes a glafs of good 

wine ; fo I'll give him a bottle of my Forty-eight, and he 
fhall teach me. Aye, that's it — I'll be Cunning Little 
Ifaac ! If they complain of my want of wit, I'll tell 
'em the curfed Duenna wears the breeches, and has fpoilt 
my parts, 

[Exit Hardy,' 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 4 r 



SCENE II Comal?*. 

Enter Courtall, Saville, and three others, from an AparU 
ment in the back Scene. (The lajl three tipfey.') 

Court. You flian't go yet : Another catch, and 

another bottle ! 

ift Gent. May I be a bottle, and an empty bottle, if 
you catch me at that ! — Why, I am going to the Maf- 
querade. Jack — , you know who I mean, is to 
meet me, and we are to have a leap at the new luftres. 

id Gent, And 1 am going to — a Harlequin — (hlckups) 
—Am not I in a pretty pickle to make Harlequinades ? 

And Tony, here — he is going in the difguife — in 

the difguife — of a Gentleman ! 

ift Gent, We are all very difguifed ; fo bid them 
draw up — D'ye hear ! {Exeunt the three Gentlemer.. 

Sav, Thy Ikull, Courtall, is a Lady's thimble : — no, 
an egg-(hell. 

Court, Nay, then you are gone too : you never afpire 
to fimiles, but in your cups. 

Sav, No, no ; I am fteady enough — but the fumes of 
the wine pafs diredtly through thy egg-lhell, and leave 
thy brain as cool as^ — Hey! I am quite fober; my 
fimiles fail me. 

Court. Then we'll fit down here, and have one fober 
bottle. — Bring a table and glaffes. 

Sav. I'll not fwallow another drop ; no, though the 
juice (hould be the true Falernian. 

Court. By the bright eyes of her you love, you fha.ll 
drink her health. 

Sav, Ah ! (fitting down) Her I loved is gone — (ftghing) 
—She's married ! 

Court. Then blefs your {tars you are not her Hufband ! 

G 1 would 



42 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 



I would be Hufband to no Woman in Europe, who was 
notdev'lifh rich, and dev'lifh ugly, 
Sav. Wherefore ugly? 

Court. Becaufe fhe could not have the confcience to 
exact thofe attentions that a Pretty Wife expects ; or, if 
fhe fhould, her refentments would be perfectly eafy to 
me, nobody would undertake to revenge her caufe. 

Sav. Thou art a moft licentious fellow ! 

Court. I mould hate my own wife, that's certain ; but 
I have a warm heart for thofe of other people ; and fo 
here's to the prettieft Wife in England — Lady Frances 
Touchwood. 

Sav. Lacry Frances Touchwood ! I rife to drink her. 
{drinks.) How the devil came Lady Frances in your head ? 
I never knew you give a Woman of Chaftity before. 

Court, That's odd, for you have heard me give half 
the Women of Fafhion in England. — But, pray now, 
what do you take a W oman of Chaftity to be ? (Sneer- 
ingly.) 

Sav, Such a woman as Lady Frances Touchwood, 
Sir. 

Court. Oh, you are grave, Sir; I remember you was 
an Adorer of her's — Why didn't you marry her ? 

Sav. I had not the arrogance to look fo high.— Had 
my fortune been worthy of her, fhe fljould not have been 
ignorant of my admiration. 

Court. Precious fellow ! What, I fuppofe you would 
not dare tell her now that yeu admire her? 

Sav. No, nor you. 

Court. By the Lord, I have told her fo. 
Sav. Have? lmpoffible! 
Court. Ha! ha! ha !— Is it fo ? 
Sav. How did (he receive the declaration ? 
Court. Why, in the old way; blufhed, and frowned, 
and fatd fhe was married. 

Sav. What amazing, things thou art capable of! I 

could 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 43 

could more eafity have taken the Pope by the beard, than 
profaned her ears with fuch a declaration. 

Court. J fljall meet her at Lady Brilliant's to-night, 
where I (hall repeat it ; and I'd lay my life, under a 
mafk, fhe'll bear it all without bium, or frown. 
Sav. {rifing,) 'Tis falfe, Sir ! -She won't. 
Court. She will ! (ri/wg.) Nay, Pil venture to lay a 

round fum, that I prevail on her to go out with me 

only to tafte the frem air, I mean. 

Sav. Prepofterous vanity ! From this moment I 
fufpecf, that half the vi&ories you have boafted are falfe 
and flanderous, as your pretended influence with Lady- 
Frances. 

Court. Pretended ! — How mould fuch a Fellow as you, 
now, who never foared bey pod a cherry- cheeked Daugh- 
ter of a Ploughman in Norfolk, judge of the influence 
of a Man of my Figure and Habits? I could fhew thee 
a lift, in which there are names to (hake thy faith in the 
whole fex ! — and, to that lift I have no doubt of adding 
the name of Lady ■ ■ 

Sav. Hold, Sir! My ears cannot bear the profana- 
tion ; — you cannot— ^dare not approach her ! — For your 
foul you dare not mention Love to her! Her look 
would freeze the word, whilft it hovered on thy licen- 
tious lips ! 

Court. Whu ! whu ! Well, we ftiall fee — this evening, 
by Jupiter, the trial (hall be made.— If I fail — I fail. 

$av. I think thou dar'ft not ! But my life, my honour 
on her purity. [Exit Saville. 

Court. Ilot- headed fool ! But fince he has brought it 
to this point, by Gad I'Jl try what can be done with her 
Ladyfhip— (mufmg)--(ri;gs)--Sht's froft-work, and the 
prejudices of education yet ftrong : ergo, paffionate pro- 
Jeffions will only inflame her pride, and put her on her 
ouard.— — ppr other arts then ! 

t 6 2 Enter 



44 THE BELLE's STRATAGEM. 



Enter Dick. 

Dick, do you know any of the fervants at Sir George 
Touchwood's ? 

Dick. Yes, Sir; I. knows the Groom, and one of the 
Houfe-maids : for the matter-o'-that, {he's my own 
Coufin j and it was my Mother that holp'd her to the 
place. 

Court. Do you know Lady Frances's Maid? 

Dick. I can't fay as how I know fhe. 

Court. Do you know Sir George's Valet ? 

Dick. No, Sir i but Sally is very thjck with Mr. Gib- 
fon, Sir George's Gentleman. 

Court, Then go there dire&ly, and employ Sally to 
difcover whether her Matter goes to Lady Brilliant's this 
evening ; and, if he does, the name of the ftiop that fold 
his Habit. 

Dick. Yes, Sir. 

Court. Be exact in your intelligence, and come to me 
at Boodle's. [Exit Dick. J If I cannot otherwife fuc- 
ceed, I'll beguile her as Jove did Alcmena, in the fhape 
of her hufband. The pofleffion of fo fine a Woman-*— 
the triumph over Saviile, are each a fufficient motive ; 
and united, they fhall be refiftlefs. [Exit Courtajl, 

SCENE III.— ^The Street. 
Enter Saviile, 

Sav. The air has recover'd me ! What have I been 
doing ! Perhaps my petulance may be the caufe of her 
ruin, whofe honour I aflerted : — his vanity is piqued 
and where Women are concerned, Courtall can be a 
villain. 

Enter Dick. — Bows^ and pajjes haflily. 
Ha ! that's his fervant !— Dick ! 
Dick, (returning) Sir. 
Sav. Where aie you goings Dick? 

Dich 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 45 

Dick. Going ! I am going, Sir, where my Mafter fent 
-we. ' ' fn ,£li r '"- r ' ' ■ » hi giehd • 

&2Z>. Well anfwer'd ; — but I have a particular reafon 
for my enquiry, and you muft tell me. 

Dick. Why then, Sir, I am going to call upon a Coa- 
fin of mine, that lives at Sir George Touchwood's. 

Sav. Very well. — There, [gives him money) you muft 
make your Coufin drink my health. — What are you 
going about ? 

Dick. Why, Sir, I believe 'tis no harm, or elfeways I 
am fure I would not blab. — I am only going to ax if Sir 
George goes to the Mafquerade to-night, and what drefe 
he wears. 

Sav. Enough ! Now, Dick, if you will call at my 
lodgings in your way back, and acquaint me with your 
Coufin's intelligence, I'll double the trifle I have given 
you. 

Dick, Blefs your honour, I'll call— never fear. 

[Exit Dick. 

Sav. Surely the occafion may juftify the means ; — 'tis 
doubly my duty to be Lady Frances's Proteclor. Court- 
all, I fee, is planning an artful fcheme 3 but Saville (hall 
out-plot him. [Exit Savillc 

SCENE IV.— — Sir George Touchwood'/. 
Enter Sir George and Villers. 

Vill For fhame, Sir George ! you have left La«y 
Frances in tears. — How can you arlli6l her ? 

Sir Geo. 'Tis I that am afRicled ; — my dream of hap- 
pinefs is over.?— Lady Frances and I are difunited. 

Vill. The Devil ! Why, you have been in town tut 
ten days : (he can have made no acquaintance for a Com- 
mons affair yet. 

Sir Geo. Pho ! 'tis our minds that are difunited : fLs 
no longer places her whole delight in me j flic has yield- 
ed herfelf up to the world ! 

Vill. 



46 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

VilL Yielded hcrfelf up to the World ! Why did you 
not bring her to town in a Cage ? Then (he might have 
taken a peep at the World !— But, after all, what has the 
World done ? A twelvemonth fince you. was the gayeft 
fellow in it : — If any body aik'd who dreffes beft ? — Sir 
George Touchwood. — Who is the moil gallant man? 
Sir George Touchwood. — Who is the moft wedded to 
Amufement and Diffipation ? Sir George Touchwood ? 
And now Sir George is metamorphofed into a four Cen- 
for ; and talks of Fafhionable Life with as much bitter* 
nefs, as the old crabbed Fellow in Rome, 

Sir Geo. The moment I became poffeffed of fuch a jewel 
as Lady Frances, every thing wore a different complex- 
ion : that Society in which I liv'd with fo much eclat, be- 
came the object of my terror; and I think of the man- 
ners of Polite Life, as I do of the atmofphere of a Pe/l- 
houfe. — My Wife is already infected ; foe was fet upon 
this morning by Maids, Widows, and Bachelors, who 
carried her off in triumph, in fpite of my difpleafure. 

VilL Aye, to be fure; there would have been no triumph 
in the cafe, if you had not oppos*d it ; — but I have heard 
the whole ftory from Mrs. Racket ; and I affure you, 
Lady Frances didn't enjoy the morning at all ;^-ft*e 
wifhM for you fifty times. 

Sir Gto. Indeed ! Are you fure of that ? 
VilL Perfeaiy fure. 

Sir Geo. I wifli I had known it — my uneaflnefs at 
dinner wasoceafioned by very different ideas. 

VilL Here then me comes, to receive your Apology; 
but if (he is true Woman, her difpleafure will rife in pro- 
portion to your contrition ; — and till you grow carelefs 

about her pardon, me won't grant it i however, I'll 

leave you. — Matrimonial Duets are feldom fet in the 
fble I like. ■ [Exit Villers. 

Enter Lady Frances. 
$k Geo. The fweet forrow that glitters in thefe eyes, I 

cannot 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 4? 

cannot bear (embracing her). Look chearfully,you Rogue* 
Lady Fran* I cannot look otherwife, if you are pleas'd 
with me. 

Sir Geo. Well, Fanny, to-day you made your entree in 
the Fafhionable World ; tell me honeftly the impreflions 
you receiv'd. 

Lady Fran. Indeed, Sir George, I was fo hurried from 
place to place, that I had not time to find out what my 
impreffions were. 

Sir Geo* That's the very fpirit of the life you have 
chofen. 

Lady Fran. Every body about me feem'd happy — but 
every body feem'd in a hurry to be happy fomewhere elfe^ 
Sir Geo. And you like this ? 

Lady Fran. One muft like what the reft of the World 
likes. 

Sir Geo. Pernicious maxim ! 

Lady Fran. But, my dear Sir George, you have not 
promifed to go with me to the Mafquerade. 

Sir G<o. 'Twould be a fhocking indecorum to be feen 
together, you know. 

Lady Fran. Oh, no; I afk'd Mrs. Racket, and (he 
told me we might be feen together at the Mafquerade — ■ 
without being laughed at. 

Sir Geo. Really ? 

Lady Fran. Indeed, to tell you the truth, I could wifli 
it was the fafhion for married people to be infcparablc j 
for I have more heart-felt fatisfadtion in fifteen minutes 
with you at my fide, than fifteen days of amufemenc 
could give me without you. 

Sir Geo. My fweet Creature ! How that confe/Hon 
charms me ! — Let us begin the Fafhion. 

Lady Fran. O, impoifible ! We fhould not gain a fingle 
profelyte ; and you can't conceive what fpiteful thi 
would be faid of us. — At Kenfington to-day a Lady met 
us, whom we faw at Court, when we were prefented ; (he 

lifted 



4 § TrfE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

lifted up her hands in amazement !— Blefs me! faid /her 
to her companion, here's Lady Frances without Sir Hurlo 
Thrumbo ! — My dear Mrs. Racket, confider what an im- 
portant charge you have ! for Heaven's fake take her 
home again, or fome Enchanter on a flying Dragon wiil 

defcend and carry her off. Oh, faid another, I dare 

fay Lady Frances has a clue at her heel, like the peerlefs 
Rofamond :— her tender fwain would never have trufted 
her fo far without fuch a precaution. 

Sir Geo. Heaven and Earth !-— How {hall Innocence 
preferve its luftre amidft manners fo corrupt ! — My dear 
Fanny, I feel a fentimentfor thee at this moment, tenderer 
than Love — more animated than Paffion. — I could weep 
over that purity, expos'd to the fullying breath of 
Fafhion, and the Ton, in whofe latitudinary vortex Chaf- 
tity herfelf can fcarcely move unfpotted. 

Enter Gibfon. 

Gib. Your Honour talk'd, I thought, fomething about 
going to the Mafquerade ? 

Sir Geo. Well. 

Gib. Isn't it ?— hasn't your Honour ?— I thought your 
Honour had forgot to order a Drefs. 

Lady Fran. Well confider'd, Gibfon. Come, will 

you be Jew, Turk, or Heretic ; a Chinefe Emperor, or 
a Ballad- Singer : a Rake, or a Watchman ? 

Sir Geo. Oh, neither, my Love ; I can't take the 
trouble to fupport a character. 

Lady Fran. You'll wear a Domino then : — I faw a pink 
Domino trimm'd with blue at the {hop where I bought 
my Habit. —Would you like it ? 

Sir Geo. Any thing, any thing. 

Lady Fran. Then go about it direclly, Gibfon. A 

pink Domino trimm'd with blue, and a Hat of the fame — 
Come, you have not feen my Drefs yet— -it is moft beau- 
tiful s I long to have it on. 

[Exeunt Sir George and Lady Frances. 

Gib. 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 49 

Gib. A pink Domino trimm'd with blue, and a Hat of 
the fame-- -What the devil can it fignify to Sally now 
what his Drcfs is to be ? — Surely the Slut has not made 
an allio-nation to meet her Mailer I 

o 

[Exit Gibfon. 
END ofthe THIRD ACT. 

ACT IV. 
SCENE A Mafquerade. 

A Party dancing Cotillons in front — a variety of Characters 
pafs and repafs. 

Enter Folly on a Hobby-hcrfe^ with Cap and Bells, 
Majk. 

T T E Y ! Tom Fool ! what bufinefs have you here ? 

Foil. What, Sir ! Affront a Prince in his own 
Dominions ! *^^Siruts off. 

Mountebank. Who'll buy my Noftrums ? Who'll buy 
my Noftrums ? 

Mojk. What are they ? (They all come round him,) 
Mount, Different forts, and for different cuftomers. 
Here's a Liquor for Ladies — h expels the rage of Gaming 
and Gallantry. Here's a Pill for Members of Parliament 
— good to fettle Confciences. Here's an Eye-Water for 
Jealous Hufbands-T-it thickens the Vifual Membrane, 
through which they fee too clearly. Here's a Decoction for 

the Clergy it never fits eafy, if the patient has more 

than One Living. Here's a Draught for Lawyers — a 
great promoter of Modefty. Here's a Powder for Pro^ 
jeclors— 'twill re&ify the fumes of an Empty Stomach, 
and difljpate their airy caftles. 

H Mojk- 



50 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

Mafic. Have you a Noftrum that can give patience to 
Young Heirs, whofe Uncles and Fathers are ftout and 

healthy ? 

Mount. Yes; and I have an Infufion for Creditors- 
it gives refignation and humility, when Fine Gentlemen, 
break their promifes, or plead their privilege. 

Majk. Come along i— -111 find you cuflomers for your 
whole cargo. 

Enter Hardy, in the Drejs of Ifaac Mendoza. 
Har, Why, isn't it a fhame to fee fo many {tout* 
well-built Young Fellows, mafquerading, and cutting 
Covrantas here at home — inftead of making the French, 
cut cap.rs to the tune of your Cannon — or fweating the 
Spaniards with an Englifh Fandango P—l forefee the en4 
of all this. 

Majk. Why, thou little tefty Xfraelite ! back to Duke's 
Place ; and preach your tribe into a fubfcrjption for the 
good of the land on whofe milk and honey ye fatten.— 
Where are your Jofhuas and your Gideons, aye ? What ! 
all dwindled into Stockbrokers, Pedlars, and Rag-Men } 

Har. No, not all. Some of us turn Chriftians, and 
by degrees grow into all the privileges of Englifhmen ! 
In the fecond generation we are Patriots, Rebels, Cour- 
tiers, and Hufbands. (Puts his fingers to his forehead.) 

Tzuo other Mafis advance, 

^d Majk. What, my little Ifaae ! How the DeviJ 

came you here ? Where's your old Margaret f 
Har, Oh, I have got rid of her, 

^d Mafic. How ? 

Har, Why, I perfuaded a young Irifhman that {he was 
a blooming plump Beauty of eighteen; fo they made an 
Elopement, ha ! ha ! ha ! and fhe is now the Toaft of 
Tipperary. Ha ! there's Coufin Racket and her Party j 
they fha'n't know me, {Puts on his Majk. 

Enter 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 51 

Enter Mrs. Racket, Lady Frances, Sir George, and Flutter, 
Mrs. Rack. Look at this dumpling Jew j he muft be a 
Levite by his figure. You have finely pra&ifed the 
ftefh-hook a long time, friend, to have raifed that goodJy 
prefence. 

Har. About as long, my brifk Widow, as you have 
been angling for a fecond Hufband ; but my hook has 
been better baited than yours. — You have only caught 
Gudgeons, I fee. [Pointing to Flutter* 

Flut, Oh ! this is one of theGeniufes they, hire to en- 
tertain the Company with their accidental fallies Let 

me look at your Common-Place Book, friend. — I want 
a few good things. 

Har. I'd oblige you, with all my heart 5 but you'll 
fpoil them in repeating — or, if you fhould not, they'll 
gain you no reputation — for nobody will believe they 
are your own. 

Stir Geo. He knows ye, Flutter • — the little Gentleman 
Fancies himfelf a Wit, I fee, 

• Har. There's no depending on what you fee — the eyes 
of the jealous are not to be trufted — Look to your Lady, 

Flut. He knows ye. Sir George. 

Sir Geo. What ! am I the Town-talk ? [Aftde. 

Har. I can neither fee Doricourt nor Letty.— - I muft 
find them out. [Exit Hardy. 

Mrs. Rack. Well, Lady Frances, is not all this 
charming t Could you have conceived fuch a brilliant 
aflemblage of objects ? 

Lady Fran. Delightful! The days of enchantment are 
reftor'd ; the columns glow with Sapphires and Rubies. 
Emperors and Fairies, Beauties and Dwarfs, meet me at 
every ftep. 

Sir Geo. How lively are firft impreflions on fenfible 
jminds ! In four hours, vapidity and languor will take 
place of that ejccjuiiite fenfe of joy, which flutters your 
little heart. 

H 3 Mrs. Rack; 



$2 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

Mrs. Rack. What an inhuman creature ! Fate ha$ 
not allow'd us thefe fenfations above ten times in our 
lives ; and would you h»ve us fhorten them by anticU 
pation ? 

Flut. O Lord ! your Wife Men are the greater! fools 
upon earth they reafon about their enjoyments, and 
analyfe their pleafures, whi'ft the efTence efcapes. Look, 
Lady Frances : D'ye fee that figure ftrutting in the drefs 
of an Emperor ? His father retails oranges in Botolph- 
lane. That Gypfey is a Maid of Honour, and that 
Rag-man a Phyfician. 

Lady Fran* Why, you know every body. 

Flut, Oh, every creature. — A mafk is nothing at all 
to me . — I can give you the hiftory of half the people 
here. In the next apartment there's a whole family, 
who, to my knowledge, have lived on Water-crefTes this 
month, to make a figure here to-night ; — but, to make 
up for that, they'll cram their pockets with cold ducks 
and chickens, for a Carnival to-morrow. 

Lady Fran. Oh, I fhould like to fee this provident 
family. 

Flut. Honour me with your arm. 

[Exeunt Flutter and Lady Frances. 

Mrs. Rack. Come, Sir George, you fhall be my Beau. 

. We'll make the tour of the rooms, and meet them. Oh! 

vour pardon, you muft follow Lady Frances ; or the wit 
and fine parts of Mr. Flutter may drive ycu out of her 
head. Ha ! ha ! ha ! [Exit Mrs. Racket. 

Sir Geo. I was going to follow her, and now I dare not. 
How can I be fuch a fool as to be govern'd by the fear 
of that ridicule which I defpife I [Exit Sir George. 

Enter Doricourt, meeting a Alajk. 

Doric. Ma! my Lord! — I thought you had been en- 
gaged at Wcftminfter on this important night. 

Mojk. 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 53 

Majk. So I am — I flipt out as foon as Lord Trope got 
upon his legs ; I can badiner here an hour or two, and 
be back again before he is down. — —There's a fine 
Figure ! I'll addrefs her. 

Enter Letitia. 
Charity, fair Lady \ Charity for a poor Pilgrim. 

Lent. Charity ! If you mean my prayers, Heaveri 
grant thee Wit, Pilgrim. 
Majk. That blefling would do from a Devotee: from 
> you I afk other charities fuch charities as Beauty 
ftiould beftow— foft Looks — fweet Words — and kind 
Wifhes. 

Letit. Alas ! I am bankrupt of thefe, and forced to 

turn Beggar myfelf. There he is f— how fhall I catch 

his attention ? 

Majk. Will you grant me no favour ? 

Letit. Yes, one — I'll make you my partner— not for 
life, but through the foft mazes of a minuet.— Dare you 
dance ? 

Doric. Some fpirit in that. 

Mafk. I dare do any thing you command. 

Doric. Do you know her, my Lord? 

Mafk. No: Such a woman as that, would formerly 
have been known in any difguife; but Beauty is now 
common— Venus feems to have given her Ceflui to the 
whole fex. 

Jl Minuet. 

Dork, {during the Minuet) She dances divinely.— 
{When ended) Somebody mult know her ! Let us enquire 
who (he is, i Ex ; tm 

Enter Saville and Kitty Willis, habited like Lady Frances. 

Sav. J have feen Courtall in Sir George's h^bit, though 
he endeavoured to keep himfelf conccal'n. Go, and feat 
yourfelf in the tea-room, and on no account difcover your 
face remember too, Kitty, that the Woman you are to 
perfoliate h a Woman of Virtue. 

Kitty. 



§4 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM* 

Kitty. I am afraid I (hall find that a difficult character* 
indeed I believe it is feldorn kept up through a whole 
Mafquerade. 

Sav. Of that yeu can be no judge*— — Follow my di- 
ie&ibns, and you fhall be rewarded. [Exit Kitty, 

Enter Doricourt. 

Doric. Ha! Saville! Did you fee a Lady dance jufl 
sow ? 

Sav. No. 

Dork. Very odd. Nobody knows her, 
Sav. Where is Mifs Hardy ? 

Doric. Cutting Watch-papers, and making Conun- 
drums, I fuppofe. 

Sav. What do you mean f 

Doric. Faith, I hardly know. She's not here, however^ 
Mrs. Racket tells me.— -I aflc'd no further. 

Sav. Your indifference feems increas'd. 

Doric. Quite the reverfe » 'tis advanced thirty-two de- 
crees towards hatred. 

Sav. You are jelling ? 

Doric. Then it muff be with a very ill grace, my dear 
Saville 5 for I never felt Co ferioufly : Do you know the 
creature's almoft an Ideot ? 

Sav. What I 

Doric. An Ideot. What the devil {hall I do with her ? 
Egad ! I think I'll feign myfelf mad — and then Hardjr 
will propofe to cancel the engagements. 

Sav. An excellent expedient. I mull leave you * yoii 
are rriyfterious^ and I can't ftay to unravel ye. — -I came 
here to watch over Innocence and Beauty. 

Doric. The Guardian of Innocence and Beauty at 
three-and-twenty ! Is there not a cloven foot under that 
black gown, Saville? 

Stitei No, faith. Courtall is here on a molt delegable 
<ltTign. — I found means to get a knowledge of the Lady's 
drefs, and have brought a girl to perfonate her; whote 

reputation 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 55 



reputation cannot be hurt. — You (hall know the refult 
to-morrow. Adieu. [Exit Saville. 

Doric, (mufing) Yes, I think that will do, — I'll feign 
myfelf mad, fee the Doctor to pronounce me incurable., 

and when the parchments are deftroyed — • 

[As he Jlands in a mufing pofure, Letitia enters, andfings.) 

SONG. 

Wake J thou Son of Dullnefs, wake I 

From thy drowfy fenfes Jhake 
fill the Jpells that Care employs* 

Cheating mortals of their joys, 
II. 

Light-zving'd Spirits, hither hajle ! 

Who prepare for mortal tajle 
4H the gifts that Pleafure fends* 

Every blifs that youth attends, 
III, 

Touch his feelings, rouxe his fold* 

Whilf the fparkling moments roll \ 
Bid them wake to new delight^ 

Crown the magic of the night 

Boric, By Heaven, the fame fweet creature! 

Letit, You have chofen an odd fituation for ftudyw 
Fafhion and tafte prefide in this fpot: — they throw their 
fpells around you: — ten thoufand delights fpring up at 
their command; — and you, a Stoic— a being without 
fenfes, are wrapt in reflection. 

Doric, And you, the moft charming being in the 
world, awake me to admiration. Did you come from 
fhe Stars ? 

Letit, Yes, and I {hall reafcend in a moment. 
Doric, Pray fhew me your face before you go. 
Letit, Beware of imprudent curiofity; it loft Paradife, 
Doric, Eve's curiofity was rais'd by the Devil ; — 'tis an 
Angel tempts mine.— So your allufion is not in point. 



56 THE BELLE's STRATAGEM, 

Letlt. But why would you fee my face? 
Doric. To fall in love with it. 
Leiit, And what then ? 

Doric. Why, then— Aye, curfe it ! there's the rub. [A fide* 
Letlt. Your Miftrefs will be angry 5— but, perhaps 3 
you have no Miftrefs ? 

Doric. Yes, yes ; and a fvveet one it is ! 
Letit. What ! is (he old ? 
Doric. No. 
I-;.. Ugly? 
Doric. No. 

What then ? 

Doric. Pho ! don't talk about for ; but fhew me your 

face. 

Letit. My vanity forbids it; — 'twould frighten you. 

Dcric. Impoffibie ! Your Shape is graceful, your Air 
bewitching, your bofom tranfparent, and your Chin 
would tempt me to kifs it, if I did not fee a pouting red 

Lip above it, that demands 
Letit, You grow too free. 

Doric. Shew me your face then— only half a glance, 
Letit. Not for worlds. 

Doric. What ! you will have a little gentle force ? 

[At tempts to fcize her Majk. 
Letit. I am gone for ever ! [Exit. 
Doric. 'Tis falfej— rrPll follow to the end. [Exit % 

Flutter, Lady Frances, and Saville advance. 

Lady Fran. How can you be thus interefted for a 
fhanger ? 

Sav. Goodnefs will ever interefl,; its home is Heaven * 
on earth 'tis but a Wanderer. Imprudent Lady ! why 
have you left the fide of your Protector r Where is your 
Hufband ? 

Flut. Why, what's that to him ? 

Lady Fran. Surely it can't be merely bis habit; — 
there's fomething in him that awes me, 

Fluh 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. S7 

Flut, Pho ! 'tis only his grey beard.— A know him ; he 
keeps a Lottery-office on Cornhill. 

Sav. My province, as an Enchanter, Jays open every 
fpcret to me. Lady J there are dangers abroad — Beware ! 

[Exit, 

Lady Fran, 'Tis very odd ; his manner has made me 
tremble. Let us feek Sir George. 

Flut. He is coming towards us. 

Courtall comes forward^ habited like Sir George. 

Court, There (he is ! If I can but difengage her from 
that fool Flutter — crown me, ye Schemers, with immor- 
tal wreaths. 

Lady Fran. O, my dear Sir George ! I rejoice to meet 
you— an old Conjurer has been frightening me with his 
Prophecies. — Where's Mrs. Rackett ? 

Court. In the dancing room. — I promi&'d to fend you 
to her, Mr. Flutter. 

Flut. Ah ; fhe wants me to dance. With all my heart. 

[Exit. 

Lady Fran. Why do you keep on your ma(k ? —'tis too 
warm. 

Court, 'Tis very warm-*-I want air-f-let us go. 
Lady Fran* You feem quite agitated,— Sha'n't we bid 
our company adieu ? 

Court. No, no ; — there's no time for forms. I'll juft 
give directions to the carriage, and be with you in a mo- 
ment. [Goings Jleps back.) Put on your mafk ; I have 
a particular reafon for it, [Exit< 

Saville advances with Kitty, 

Sav. Now, Kitty, you know your leflbn. Lady Fran* 
ces (takes off his majk.) let me lead you to your hulband. 

Lady Fran. Heavens! is Mr. Saville the Conjurer? 
Sir George is juft ftept to the door to give directions.— » 
We are going home immediately. 



58 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

Sav, No, Madam, you are deceiv'd : Sir George is 
this way. 

Lady Fran, This is aftonjftiing ! 
Sav, Be not alarm'd : you have efcapM a fnare, and 
fliall be in fafety in a moment. 

[Ex. Saville and Lady Frances., 
Enter Courtall, and feizes Kitty'* Hand, 
Court, Now I 

Kitty, 'Tis pity to go fo foon. 

Court, Perhaps I may bring you back, my Angel- 
but go now, you muft. [Mufic.) 
Doncourt and Letitia come forward, 

Doric. By Heavens ! I never was charm'd till now.— 
Engliih beauty— French vivacity — wit— elegance. Your 
name, my Angel !— tell me your name, though you per? 
flit in concealing your face. 

Lent. My name has a fpell in it. 

Doric, I thought f o ; it muft be Charming, 

Letit. But if revealed, the charm is broke. 

Doric. Til anfwer for its force. 

Letit. Suppofe it Harriet, or Charlotte, or Maria--or— 

Doric. Hang Harriet, and Charlotte, and Maria— the, 
name your Father gave ye ! 

Letit, That can't be worth knowing, -tis fo tranfient 
a thing. 

Doric. How, tranfient ? 

Letit, Heay'n fprbid my name ihould be lajling till I am; 
married. 

Dcrjc. Married ! The chains of Matrimony are too 
heavy and vulvar for fuch a fpirit as yours.— The flowery 
wreaihs of Cupid are the only bands you fhould wear. 

Letit. They are the lighteft, I believe : but 'tis poilible 
to wtar thofe of Marriage gracefully. — —Throw 'em 
Joi Hy round, and 'twift -em in a True-Lover's knot foy 
tht B ; f<»m. 

Done. An Angel! But what will you be when a Wife ? 
Lttit. A Wornan.--If my Hufband Should prove a 

Chur) d 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM, 

Churl, a Fool, or a Tyra.it, I'd break his hea t, ruin 
his fortune, elope with the firft pretty Fellow that alk'd 
me — and return the contempt of the world with fcorn, 
Whilft my feelings prey'd upon my life. 

Doric, Amazing! (A fide-.) What if you lov'd him, and 
he were worthy of your love ? 

Lent. Why, then I'd be any thing— and all !— Grave^ 
gay, capricious— the foul of whim* the fpirit of va- 
riety — live with him in the eye of faftiion, or in the 
fhade of retirement-— —change my country, my fex*— 
feaft with him in an EfquimaiiX hut, or a Perfian pavi- 
lion — join him in the victorious war-dance on the 
borders of Lake Ontario, or deep to the (oft breathings 
of the flute in the cinnamon groves of Ceylon^-dig with 
him in the mines of Golcondaj or enter the dangerous 
precincts of the Mogul's Seraglio— — cheat him of his 
wifhes, and overturn his empire to reftore the Hufband 
of my Heart to the blejffings of Liberty and Love, 

Doric. Delightful wildnefs ! Oh* to catch thee, and 
hold thee for ever in this little cage ! ( Attempting to clafp her, 

Letit. Hold, Sir ! Though Cupid muft give the bait 
that tempts me to the fnare, 'tis Hymen rnuit fpread the 
net to catch me. 

Doric. 'Tis in vain to aflume airs of coldnefs — Fate 
has ordained you mine. 

Letit, How do you know ? 

Doric. I feel it here. I never met with a Woman fa 
perfectly to my tafte ; and I won't believe it form'd you 
ib, on purpofe to tantalize me. 

Letit. This moment is worth a whole exiftence. {Aftde.) 

Doric. Come, fhew me your face, and rivet my chains. 

Letit. To-morrow you mall be fatisfied. 

Doric. To-morrow ! and not to night I 

Letit. No. 

Doric. Where then (hall I wait on you to-morrow ?— • 
Where fee you ? 

i * letiu 



90 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 



Letit. You mall fee mc in an hour when you leaft ex* 
pe£r. me. 

Doric. Why all this my fiery ? 

Letit. I like to be myfterious. Atprefent be content to 
know that lama woman of Family and Fortune. Adieu ! 

Enter Hardy. 

Hardy. Adieu ! Then I am come at the fag end. (Jfide.) 

Doric. Let me fee you to your carriage. 

Letit. As you value knowing me, ftir not a flep. If 
1 am follow'd, you never fee me more. [Exit. 

Doric. Barbarous Creature ! She's gone ! What, and 
is this really ferious \ — Am I in love ? — Pho ! it can't 
be— O Flutter ! do you know that charming Creature ? 

Enter Flutter* 

Plut. What charming Creature ? I pafs'd a thoufand* 

Doric. She went out at that door as youenter'd. 

Flut. Oh, yes I know her very well. 

Doric. Do you, my dear fellow, Who ? 

Pliti. She's kept by Lord George Jennett* 

Hardy. Impudent Scoundrel ! (J/ide.) 

Doric. Kept ! ! ! 

Flut. Yes; Colonel Gorget had her firft;*- then Mr. 
Loveill then — I forget exactly how many ; and at laft 
Ihe's Lord George's. {Talks to other Majks.) 

Doric. I'll murder Gorget, poifon Lord George, and 
fhoot myfelf. 

Hardy. Now's the time* I fee, to clear up the whole. 
Mr. Doricourt I fay — Flutter was miftaken ; I know 
who you are in love with. 

Doric. A ftrange rencontre ! Who ? 

Hardy. My Letty. 

Doric. Oh J 1 underftand your rebuke *'tis too foon 
Sir, to aflumc the Father-in-law. 

Hardy. Zounds ! what do you mean by that ? I tell you 
tha: the Lady you admire, is Letitia Hardy. 

Doric* 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM^ 6f 

Doric. I am ghd you are fo well fatisfied with the ftate 
Cf my heart. — 1 wifh 1 was. [Exit. 

Hardy, Stop a moment. — Stop, I fay ! What, you 
won't ? Very well-^if I don't play you a trick for this, may 
I never be a Grand-father ! Til plot with Letty now, and 
not againft her ; aye, hang me if I don't. There's 
fomething in my head^ that fhall tingle in his heart.—* 
He (hall have a lecture upon impatience, that I forefee 
he'll be the better for as long as he lives. [Exiu 
Saville comes forward with other Mafis. 

Sav. Flutter, come with us 5 we're going to raife a 
laugh at Courtall's. 

Flut. With ali my heart. " Live to Live," was my 
Father's motto : " Live to Laugh," is mine. [Exits 

S C EN E CourtalH. 

Enter Kitty and CourtalL 

Kttty. Where have you brought me, Sir George ? 
This is not our home ? 

Court. 'Tis my home, beautiful Lady Frances ! (Kneels^ 
and takes off his Majk.) Oh, forgive the ardency of my 
paflion, which has compell'd me to deceive you. 

Kitty. Mr. Courtall ! what will become of me? 

CourU Oh, fay but that you pardon the Wretch who 
adores you. Did you but know the agonizing tortures 
of my heart, fince I had the felicity of converfmg witk 
you this morning -or the defpair that now — {Knock.} 

Kitty. Oh ! I'm undone ! 

Court. Zounds ! my dear Lady Frances. I am not at 
home. Rafcal ! do you hear ? — Let no body in ^ I ar» 
not at home. 

Serv. (Without.) Sir, I told the Gentlemen fo. 
Court. Eternal curfes ! they are coming up. Step 
into this room, adorable Creature! one moment; I'll 
throw Chem out of the window if they flay three. 

[Exit Kitty through the back fctnt. 

Enter 



62 THS BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 



Enfef-Sav lUei Flutter, and Ma/ks, 

Flut, O Gemini ! beg the Petticoat's pardon.— *Jufl: 
faw a corner of it; 

ijl Majfk. No wonder admittance was fo difficult. I 
thought you took us for Bailiffs. 

Court, Upon my foil), I am devilifh glad to fee you^-« 
out you perceive how I am eirCumftahc'd. Excufe m© 
at this moment; 

%d Majk. Tell us who 'tis thefli 

Court. Oh fie! 

Flut. We won't blab. 

Court. I can't, upon horioun-^Thus far^-She's a Wo- 
man of the firft Character and Rank. Saville, (takes bint 
tifide) have I influence^ or have 1 not? 

Sav. Why, fure, you do not infinuate~ 

Court. No, not infinuate/but fwear, that fhe's now in 
my bed-chamber :— by gad, I don't deceive you;— There 3 s 
Generalihip ! you Rogue ! Such an humble, diftant^ 
jighing Fellow as thou art, at the end of a fix months 

fiege, would have boa/led of a kifs from her glove.- 1 

only give the fignal, and—pop !— -fhe's in my arms. 

Sav. What, Lady Fran — 

Court. Hufh ! You {hall fee her name to-morrow morn- 
ing in red letters at the end of my lift. Gentlemen, you 
inuft excufe me now. Gome and drink chocolate at 
twelve, but— - " 

Sav. Aye, let us go> out of refpect to the Lady : — 'tis 
a Perfon of Rank. 

Flut. Is it ?— Then I'll have a peep at her. [Runs to the 
door in the back Scene. ) 

' Court, This is too much, Sir. (Trying to prevent h'wii) 
j/i Majk'. By Jupiter, we'll all have a peep. 
Court. Gentlemen, confider — for Heaven's fake— % 
Lady of Quality. What will be the confequences ? 

Flut, The confequences !— Why, you'll have youf 
throat cut* that's all— but I'll write your Elegy. So* 

now 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 63 

now for the door ! (Part open the door^ uuhilji the rejl hol4 

Courtall.) Beg your Ladyfliip's pardon, whoever you 

are: (Leach her out.) Emerge from darknefs like the 
glorious Sun, and blefs the wond'ring circle with your 
charms. (Takes off her ma/k.) 

Sav. Kitty Willis! ha ! ha !; ha! 

Omnes. Kitty Willis ! ha ! ha ! ha ! Kitty Willis ! 

jjl Majk. Why, what a Fellow you are, Courtall, to 
attempt impofing on your friends in this manner ! A 
Lady of Quality — an Earl's Daughter — Your Ladyfhip's 
rnoft obedient. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

'Sav. Courtall, have you influence, tr have you not I 

Flut. The Man's moon- ftruck. 

Court, Hell, and ten thoufand Furies, feize you all to- 
gether ! 

Kitty, What ! me too, Mr. Courtall ? me, whom you 
ftave knelt to, pray'd to, arid adored ? 

Flut. That's right, Kitty 5 give him a little more. 

Court. Disappointed and laugh'd at ! 

Sav. Laugh'd at and defpis'd. I have fulfilled my 
defign, which was to expofe your villainy, and laugh at 
your prefumption. Adieu, Sir! Remember how you 
again boaft of your influence with Women of Rank 5 and 5 
when you next want amufement, dare not to look up to 
the virtuous and fo'the noble for a Companion. 

[pxit> leading Kitty a 

Flut. And, Courtall, before you carry a Lady into 
your bed-chamber again, look under her mafk, d'ye hear ? 

[Exit. 

Court. There's no bearing this ! I'll fet off for Paris 
tfireaiy, [Exit. 

PD of th* FOURTH ACT, 



ACT V, 



* 4 THE BELIZE'S STRATAGEM. 



ACT V, 

SCENE \.—r-HarJy% 

JLnter Hardy and Villers, 

Fillers. 

W HIMSICAL enough ! Dying for her, and 
hates her ; believes her a Fool, and a Woman of brilliant 
Underftanding ! 

Hardy. As true as you are alive but when I went 
«p to him laft night, at the Pantheon, out of downright 
good-nature to explain things — my Gentleman whips 
round upon his heel, and fnapt me as (hort as if I had been 
a beggar-woman with fix children^ and he Ovrerfeer of 
the Parift). 

Fill Herecomes the Wonder-worker-^-(^«/^rLetitia.) 
Herecomes the Encbantrefs, who can go to Mafquerades, 
and fing and dance, and talk a man out of his wits !— - 
But pray, have we Morning Mafquerades ? 

Lent. Oh, no — but I am fo enamoured of this all-con- 
quering Habit, that I could not refift putting it on, the 
moment I had breakfafted. I fhall wear \% cm the day I 
am married, and then lay it by in fpices— like the mira- 
culous Robes qf St t Bridget, 

Fill. That's as moft Brides do. The charms that helped 
to catch the Hufband, are generally laid by, one after 
another, 'till the Lady grows a downright Wife, and 
then runs crying to her Mother, becaufe (he has trans* 
form'd her Lover into a downright Hufband. 

Hardy. Liften to me. — I haVt flept to-night, for 
thinking of plots to plague Poricourt; — and they drove 
one another out of my head fo quick, that I was as giddy 
as a goofe, and could make nothing of 'em.—--— I wifh, 
|0 goodnefs you could contrive fomething, YM* 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 65 

Vill. Contrive to plague him ! Nothing fo eafy. Don't 
undeceive him, Madam, 'till he is your Hufband. Marry 
him whilft he poflefles the fentiments you labour'd to 
give him of Mifs H-irciy — and when you are his Wife . 

Letit. Oh, Heavens ! 1 fee the whole — that's the very 
thing. My dear A4r. Viilers, you are the divineft Man. 

VilL Don't make love to me, Hufley* 
_^ Enter Mrs. Racket. 
« Mrs. Rack. No, pray don't— for I defign to have Vii- 
lers myfelf in about fix years. — There's an oddity in him 
that pleafes me. — He holds Women in contempt ; and I 
fhould like to have an opportunity of breaking his heart 
for that. 

VilL And when I am heartily tired of life, I know no 
W oman whom I would with more pleafure make my 
Executioner. 

Har. It cannnot be — I forefee it will be impoflible to 
bring it about. , You know the wedding wasn't to take 
place this week or more—and Letty will never be able to 
play the Fool fo long. 

VilL The knot fhall be tied to-night. — I have it all 
here, (pointing to his forehead:) the licence is ready.— 
Feign yourfelf ill, fend for Doricourt, and tell him you 
can't go out of the world in peace, except you fee the 
ceremony performed. 

Har. I feign myfelf ill ! I could as foon feign myfelf 

a Roman Ambaflador. 1 was never ill in my life, but 

with the tooth-ach — when Letty's Mother was a breed- 
ing I had all the qualms. 

VilL Oh, I have no fears for you t — But what fays Mifs 
Hardy ? Are you willing to make the irrevocable vow 
before night ? 

Letit. Oh, Heavens I— I— 'Tisfo exceeding fudden, 
that really 

Mrs. Rack. That really fhe is frighten'd out of her 
wits— left it fhould be impomble to bring matters about, 
^ut /have taken the fcheme into my protection, and you 
K (hall 



66 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 



fhall be Mrs* Doricourt before night. Come (to. Mr. 
Hardy*) to bed directly : your room fhall be cramm'd 
with phials* and all the apparatus of Death y— then 
heigh preflo ! for Doricourt. 

Fill. You goandputcfF your conquering drefs, (^Lef- 
ty) and get all your awkward airs ready— And you practife 
a few groans (to Hardy.)— And you — if poffible — an ajr 
of gravity (to Mrs. Racket). Til anfwer for the plot. 

Letit. Married in jeft ! 'Tis an odd idea f Well, I'll 
venture it. [Exit Letitia and Mrs. Racket. 

VilL Aye, Til be fworn ! (looks at his watch) 'tis paffc 
three. The Budget's to be open'd this morning. Fll juft'' 

Hep down to the Houfe. — Will you go I 

Har, What ! with a mortal ficknefs ? 
VilL What a Blockhead ! I believe, if half of us were 
to flay away with mortal licknefles, it would be for the 
health of the Nation. Good-morning. — I'll call and 
feel your pulfe as I come back* [Exit, 
Har. You won't find 'em over brifk, I fancy. I forefee 
fome ill happening from this making believe to die before 
one's time. But hang it— a hem !— *I am a flout man yet •„ 
only fifty-fix— What's that t In the laft Yearly Bill there 
were three lived to above an hundred. Fifty-fix!—— 
Fiddle-de-dee 1 lam not afraid, not I. , [Exit* 

SCENE II. -Doricouris. 

Doricourt in his Robc-de-Chambre* 
Enter Saville. 
Sav. Undrefs'd fo late ? 

Doric. I didn't go to bed 'till late — 'twas late before 1 
flept— late when I rofe. Do you know Lord George 
Jennett ? 

Sav. Yes. 

Doric. Has he a Miftrefs ? 
Sav. Yes. 

Doric* What fort of a creature is fhe? 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 67 

Sav. Why (he fpends him three thoufand a year with 
the eafe of a Duchefs, and entertains his friends with the 
grace of a Ninon, Ergo, file is handfome, fpinted, and 
clever. (Doricourt walks about difordcred.) In the name 
of Caprice, what ails you ? 

Doric. You have hit it — Eile eft mon Caprice* — The 
Miftrefs of Lord George Jennett is my caprice — Oh, in- 
fufTerable ! 

Sav. What, you faw her at the Mafquerade ? 
Doric. iSW;her, lov'd \icr 9 died for her — without know- 
ing her — And now the curfe is, I can't hate her. 

Sav. Ridiculous enough ! All this diftrefs about a 
Kept Woman, whom any man may have, I dare fwear, 
in a fortnight — They've been jarring fome time. 

Doric. Have her ! The fentiment I have conceived for 
the Witch is fo unaccountable, that, in that line, I can- 
not bear her idea. Was {he a Woman of Honour, for 
a Wife, I could adore her — but, I really believe, if (he 
fhould fend me an affignation, I fhould hate her. 

Sav. Hey-dey ! This founds like Love. What be- 
comes of poor Mifs Hardy ? 

Doric. Her name has given me an ague. Dear Saville, 
howfhall I contrive to make Old Hardy cancel the en- 
gagements ! The moiety of the eftate which he will for- 
feit, fhall be his the next moment, by deed of gift. 

Sav. Let me fee— Can't you get it infinuated that you 
are a dev'lifti wild fellow; that you are an Infidel, and 
attached to wenching, gaming, and fo forth ? 

Doric. Aye, fuch a character might have done fome 
good two centuries back.— -But who the devil can it 
frighten now ? I believe it muft be the mad fcheme, at 
laft. — There, will that do for a grin ? 

Sav. Ridiculous ! — But, how are you certain that the 
Woman who has fo bewildered you, belongs to Lord 
George ? 

Doric. Flutter told me fo. 

Sav, Then fifty to one againft the intelligence, 

K z Dorici 



68 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 



Doric, It mult be fo. There was a myftery in her 
maimer, for which nothing elfe can account. (A violent 
rap.) Who can this be ? (Saville looks out.) 

Sav. The proverb is your anfwer — 'tis Flutter himfelf. 
Tip him a fcene of the IVJad-man, and fee how it takes. 

Doric, I will — a good way to fend it about town. Shall 
it be of the melancholy kind, or the raving ? 

Sav. Rant ! — rant .'—Here he comes. 

Doric. Talk not to me who can pull comets by the 
beard, and overfet an ifland ! 

Enter Flutter. 

There ! This is he ! — this is he who hath fent my poor 
foul, without coat or breeches, to be tofled about in ether 
like a duck- feather! Villain, give me my foul again 1 
Flut. Upon my foul I hav'n't got it. (Exceedingly 

frightened. ) 

Sav. Oh, Mr. Flutter, what a melancholy fight !— -J 
little thought to. have feen my poor friend reduced to this. 

Flut. Mercy defend me ! What's he mad ? 

Sav. You fee how it is. A curfed Italian Lady — Jea~ 
loufy—- gave him a drug ; and every full of the Moon — 

Doric, Moon ! Who dares talk of the Moon ? The 
patronefs of genius — -the rectifier of wits—- the— • — Oh ! 
here (he is !— I feel her— (he tugs at my brain — fhe ha? 
itrrflie has it Oh ! [Exit. 

Flut. Weil ! this is dreadful ! exceeding dreadful, I 
proteft. Have you had Monro ? 

Sav, Not yet. The worthy Mifs Hardy -what ^ 

misfortune ! 

Flut. Aye, very true. — Do they know it? 

Sav. Oh, no j the paroxyfm feized him but this morn* 
ing. 

Fit t. Adieu ; I can't ft ay. [Going in great hajle,) 
Sav. But ynu mud (holding him) Stay, and ailift me : 

—perhaps he'li return again in a moment ; and, when he 

is in this way, his ftrength is prodigious. 

Flut. Can't indeed—can't upon my foul, lExit. 

Sav* 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 69 



Sap. Flutter — Don't make a miftake now remem- 
ber 'tis Doricourt that's mad. [Exit, 

Flut. Yes^you mad 

No, no; Doricourt, 

Flit. Eoad, 111 fay you are both mad, and then I 
can't miftake. [Exeunt fevcrally, 

SCENE III. Sir George Touchwood's. 

Enter Sir George and Lady Frances. 
Sir Geo. The bird is efcaped-^-Courtall is gone to 
France. 

lady Fran. Heaven and earth ! Have ye been to feek 
him ? 

Sir Geo. Seek him ! Aye. 

Lady Fran. How did you get his name ? I mould never 
have told it you. 

SirGeo. I learnt it in the fir ft Coffee-houfe I entered.-^-. 
Every body is full of the ftory. 

Lady Fran. Thank Heaven ! he's gone !— But I have a 
ftory for you — The Hardy family are forming a plot upon 
your Friend Doricourt, and we are expected in the even-* 
ing to affift. 

Sir Geo. With all my heart, my Angel; but I can't 
(lay to hear it unfolded. They told me Mr, Saville would 
be at home in half an hour, and I am impatient to fee 
him. The adventure of laft night 

Lady Fran. Think of it only with gratitude. The 
danger I was in has ovetfet a new fyftem of conduct, that, 
perhaps, I was too much inclined to adopt. But hence- 
forward, my dear Sir George, you (hall be myconftant 
Companion, and Protector. And, when they ridicule 
the unfaftiionable Monfters, the felicity of our hearts 
lhall make their fatire pointlefs. 

Sir Geo. Charming Angel ! You almoft reconcile me 
to Courtall. Hark ! here's company (Jlepping to the door.) 
3 Tis your lively Widowr-Fll ftcp down the back flairs, 
*0 efcape her, [Exit Sir George. 

Enter 



7 o THE BELLE's STRATAGEM, 

Enter Mrs. Rackett. 

Mrs. Rack, Oh, Lady Frances ! I am fhock'd to death, 
•—Have you received a card from us? 

Lady Fran, Yes 5 within thefe twenty minutes. 

Mrs. Rack, Aye, 'tis of no confequence.— —'Tis all 
over- — Doricourt is mad. 

Lady Fran, Mad ! 

Mrs, Rack. My poor Letitia ! — Juft as we were enjoy- 
ing ourfelves with the profpecT: of a fcheme that was 
planned for their mutual happinefs, in came Flutter, 
breathlefs, with the intelligence ; — I flew here to know 
if you had heard it, 

Lady Fran, No, indeed— and I hope it is one of Mr, 
Flutter's dreams. 

Enter Saville. 

A-propos; now we {hall be informed. Mr. Saville I re- 
joice to fee you, though Sir George will be difappointed ; 
he's gone to your lodgings.. 

Sav, I {hould have been happy to have prevented Sir 
George. I hope your Ladyfhip's adventure laft nightdid 
not diflurb your dreams ? 

Lady Fran, Not at all ; for I never flept a moment, 
My efcape, and the importance of my obligations to you, 
employed my thoughts, But we have juft had (hocking 
intelligence — Is it true that Doricourt is mad ? 

Sav, So; the bufmefs is done, {rfjide.) Madam, I am 
forry to fay, that I have juft been a melancholy witnefs 
of his ravings : he was in the height of a paroxyfm. 

Mrs. Rack, Oh, there can be no doubt of it. Flutter 
told us the whole hiflory. Some Italian Princefs gave 
him a drug, in a box of fweetmeats, fent to him by her 
own page ; and it renders him lunatic every month. 
Poor Mifs Hardy ! I never felt fo much on any occafion 
in my life. 

Sav, To foften your concern, I will inform you, 
Madam, that Mifs Hardy is lefs to be pitied than you 
imagine. s .Mr$4 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 71 

Mrs. Rack. Why So, Sir ? 

Sav, 'Tis rather a delicate fubjedl: — but he did not love 
Mifs Hardy. 

Mrs. Rack. He did love Mifs Hardy, Sir, and would 
have been the happieft of men. 

Sav, Pardon me, Madam ; his heart was not only free 
from that Lady's chains, but abfolutely captivated by 
another. 

Mrs. Rack. No, Sir — no. It was Mifs Hardy who 
captivated him. She met him laft night at the Mafque- 
rade, and charmed him in difguife— He profefTed the mod 
violent paflion for her; and a plan was laid, this evenings 
to cheat him into happinefs. 

Sav. Ha ! ha I ha !— Upon my foul, I muff beg your 
pardon ! 1 have not eaten of the Italian Princefs's box of 
fweetmeats, fent by her own page ; and yet I am as mad 
as Doricourt, ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Mrs. Rack. So it appears — What can all this mean? 

Sav. Why, Madam, he is at prefent in his perfect 
fenfes; but he'll lofe 'em in ten minutes, through joy.— - 
The madnefs was only a feint, to avoid marrying Mifs 

Hardy, ha I ha! ha! I'll carry him the intelligence 

directly. (Going.) 

Mrs. Rack. Not for worlds. I owe him revenge* 
now, for what he has made us fuffer. You muff pro- 
mife not to divulge a fyllable I have told you ; and when 
Doricourt is fummoned to Mr. Hardy's, prevail on hint 
to come — -madnefs, and all. 

Lady Fran. Pray do. I fhould like to fee him fhewing 
off, now 1 am in the fecret. 

Sav. You muft be obeyed, though 'tis inhuman to 
conceal his happinefs. 

Mrs. Racket. I am going home; fo I'll fet you down 
at his lodgings, and acquaint you, by the way, with our 
whole fc heme. Allom t 

Sav, I attend you ( leading her out,) 

Mrs: 



yk THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM, 

Mrs. Rack. You won't fail us ? 

[Exit, Saville and Mrs. Rackets 
Lady Fran. No ; depend on us, [Exit* 

SCENE IV Dcricourfs. 

Doricburt feated> reading. 

Doric, (flings away the book) What effect can the rrio* 
rals of Fourfcore have on a mind torn with paflion ? 
(muflng) Is it pofiible fuch a foul as her's, can fupport it- 
felf in fo humiliating actuation ? A kept Woman ! (rifling) 
Well, well— I am glad it is fo — I am glad it is fo ! 

Enter Savillei 

Sav. What a happy dog you are, Doricourt! I might 
have been mad, or beggar'd, or piftol'd myfelf, without 
its being mentioned — But you, forfooth ! the whole Fe- 
male World is concerned for. I reported the {late of your 
brain to five different women — The lip of the firft trem- 
bled ; the white bofom of the fecond heaved a figh ; the 
third ejaculated, and turned her eye—to the glafs ; the 
fourth bleffed herfelf ; and the fifth faid, whilft fhe pinned 
a curl, " Well, now, perhaps, he'll be an amufing Com- 
<c panion : his native dullnefs was intolerable." 

Doric. Envy ! fheer envy, by the fmiles of Hebe ? » ■ 
There are not lefs than forty pair of the brighter}, eyes 
in town will drop cryftals, when they hear of my mis- 
fortune. 

Sav. Well, but I have news for you : — Poor Hardy is 
confined to his bed ; they fay he is going out of th£ 
world by the firft pofr, and he wants to give you his blef- 
fing. 

Doric. Ill ! fo ill ! I am forry from my foul. He's a 
worthy little Fellow— if he had not the gift of forefeeing 
fo ftrongly. 

Sal. Well 5 you iiiuft go and take leave, 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 73 

Doric. What ! to act the Lunatic in the dying Man's 
chamber ? 

Sav. Exaclly the thing; and vviil bring your bufinefs 
to a fliort iilue: for his J aft commands muft be, That 
you arc not to marry his Daughter. 

Doric. That's true, by Jupiter ! — and yet, hang it, 
impofe upon a poor fellow at fo ferious a moment ! — I 
can't do it. s 

Sav. You muft, 'faith. I a.m anfwerable for your ap- 
pearance, though it fhould be in a ftrait waiftcoat. He 
knows your lituati^n, and feems the more deiirous of aa 
interview, 

Doric. I don't like encountering Rackett.— She's an 
arch little devil, and willdifcover the cheat. 

Sav. There's a Fellow !— Cheated Ninety-nine Wo- 
men, and now afraid of the Hundredth, 

Doric. And with reafon — fgr that hundredth is a Wi- 
dow, [ExtunU 

SCENE V. Hardy's. 

Enter Mrs. Racket and Mifs Ogle. 

Mifs Ogle. And fo Mifs Hardy is actually to be mar- 
ried to-night ? 

Mrs. Rack. If her fate does not deceive her. You are 
apprized of the fcheme, and we hope it will fucceed, 

Mifs Ogle. Deuce take her! (he's fix years younger 
than I am. (Afide) — Is Mr. Doricourt handfome? 

Mrs. Rack. Handfome, generous, young and rich.—— 
There's a Hufband for ye ! Isn't he worth pulling caps 
for? 

Mifs Ogle. V my confcience, the Widow fpeaks as 
though (he'd give cap, ears, and all for him. (Afide.) I 
wonder you didn't try to catch this wonderful Man, Mrs. 
Rackett ? 

Mrs. Rack. Really, Mifs Ogle, I had not time. Be- 
fides, when I marry, fo many flout young fellows will 
L hang 



74 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

hang themfelves, that, out of regard to fociety, in thefe 
fad times, 1 fhall poftpone it for a few years. This will 
colt her a new lace— I heard it crack. ( Afide.) 

Enter Sir George, and Lady Frances. 

Sir Geo. Weil, here we are. — But where's the Knight 
of the Woeful Countenance ? 

Mrs. Rack. Here loon, I hope-^for a woeful Night 
it will be without him. 

Ssr Geo. Oh, fie ! do you condefcend to pun? 

Mrs. Rack. Why not ! It requires genius to make a 
good pun — fome men of bright parts can't reach it. I ' 
know a Lawyer who writes them on the back of hi$ 
bnefs j and fa s they are of great ufe— -in a dry caufe. 
Enter Flutter. 

Flut. Here they come !---Here they come ! ■ ■ » » Their 
coach {topped, as' mine drove off. 

Lady Fran. Then Mifs Hardy's fate is at a crifis.— 
She plays a hazardous game, and I tremble for her. 1 

Sav. (without) Come, let me guide you ! — This way, 
my poor Friend ! Why are you fo furious ? 

Doric, (iviikut) The Houfe of Death—to the Houfe 
of D^ath 1 

Enter Doricourt, and Saville. 
Ah ! this is the fpot ! 

Lady Fran. How wild and fiery he looks ! 

Mifs Ogle. Now, I think, he looks terrified. 

Fui. Poor creature, how his eyes work! 

Mrs. Rack- I never faw a Madman before*— Let me 
examine him — Will he bife ? 

Sav. Pray keep out of his reach, Ladies — You don't 
Jcnow your danger. He's like a Wild Cat, if a fudden 
thought ftizes him. 

Sir Geo. You talk like a Keeper of Wild Cats — How 
much do you demand for fhewing the Monilei ? 

Done. \ don't like this — I muft roufe their lenfibility. 
T))ere ! there file darts through the air in. liquid flames ! 

Down 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 75 

Down again! Now I have her — Oh, {he burns! {he 
fcorches 1 — Oh ! (he eats into my very heart ! 
Omnes, Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Mrs. Rack. He fees the Apparition of the wicked Ita- 
lian Princefs. 

Flut, Keep her Highnefs faft, Doricourt. 

Mifs Ogle, Give her a pinch before you let her go. 

Doric, I am laughed at ! 

Mrs. Rack, Laughed at — aye, to be fure ; why, I could 
play the Madman better than you. — There ! there {he is ! 
Now I have her! Ha! ha! ha! 

Doric, I knew that Devil would difcover me: (Afide) 
I'll leave the houfe :— - I'm covered with confufion: 
[Going,) 

Sir Geo: Stay, Sir— You muft not go. 'Twas poorly 
done, Mr. Doricourt, toaffecl madnefs, rather than fulfil 
your engagements. 

Doric, AffecT: madnefs !~Saville, what can I do ? 

Sav, Since you are difcovered, confefs the whole. 

Mifs Ogle: Aye, turn Evidence, and fave yourfelf: 

Doric, Yes ; fince my defigns have been fo unaccount- 
ably difcovered, I will avow the whole; I cannot love 
Mifs Hardy— and I will never 

Sav. Hold, my dear Doricourt ! be not fo ram. What 
will the world fay to fuch— 

Doric, Damn the world ! What will the world give 
me for the lofs of happinefs ? Muft I facrifice my peace, 
to pleafe the world ? 

Sir Geo, Yes, every thing, rather than be branded with 
difhonour. 

Lady Fran, Though our arguments mould fail, there is 
* Pleader, whom you furely cannot withftand — the dying 
Mr. Hardy fupplicates you not to forfake his Child: 

Enter Villers: 
Fill, Mr, Hardy requefts you to grant him a moment's 
L 2 00 n- 



76 THE BELLE S STRATAGEM. 

converfation, Mr. Doricoui t, though you mould perful; 
to fend him mifcrabie to the grave. Let me conduct you 
to his chamber. 

Doric. Oh, aye, any where ; to the Antipodes — to the 
Moon — Carry me — Do with me what you will. 

Mrs; Rack: Mortification and Difppointment, then ? - 
are fpecifics in a cafe of flubbornnefs— I'll follow, and 
let you know what pafTes. 

[Exeunt Villers, Dorieourt, Mrs. Rackett, 
and Mifs Ogle. 

Flut. Ladles, Ladies, have the charity to take me 
with you, that I may make no blunder in repeating the 
liory. [Exit Flutter. 

Lady Fran. Sir George, you don't know Mr. Saville. 

[Exit Lady Frances. 
r <S/V Geo. Ten thoufand pardons— but I will riot pardon 
myfelf, for not obferving you. I have been with the ut- 
mofl: impatience at your door twice to-day. 

- Sav. I am concerned you had fo much trouble, Sir 
Georges 

Sir Geo. Trouble! what a word!- — I hardly know 
how to addrefs you ; I am diftreiTed beyond meafure •■; 
and it is the higheft proof of my opinion of your honour, 
and the delicacy of your mind, that I open my heart to' 
you. 

$av: What has difturbed 'you. Sir George ? 

Sir Geo. Your having preferved Lady Frances, in fa 
imminent a danger. Start not, Saville 5 to protect Lady 
Frances, was my right. You have wrefied from me my 
deareft privilege. 

Sav. I hardly know how fo anfwer fuch a reproach. 
1 cannot apologize for what I have done: 

Sir Geo. I do not mean to reproach you; I hardly 
know what I mean. There is one method by which' 
you may reflore peace to me ; I cannot endure that my 
Wife (hould be fo infinitely indebted to any man who is 
lefs than my Brother. 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 77 
Sav. Pray explain yourfelf. 

Sir Geo. I have a Sifter, Saville, who is amiable ; and 
you are worthy of her. I fhall give her a commiflion to 
ileal your heart, out of revenge for what you have done. 

Sav. I am infinitely honoured, Sir George^ but 

Sir Geo, I cannot Men to a fentence which begins 
with fo unpromifing a word* You muft go with us into 
Hampfhire; and, if you fee each other with the eyes I 
do, your felicity will be complete. I know no one, to 
whofe heart I would fo readily commit the care of my 
Sifter's happinefs. 

Sav. I will attend yoa to Hampfhire, with pleafure 5 
but not on the plan of retirement. Society has claims Of* 
Lady Frances, that forbid it. 

Sir Geo. Claims, Saville ! 

Sav. Yes, claims 5 Lady Frances was born to be the 
ornament of Courts. She is fufficiently alarmed, not to 
wander beyond the reach of her Protector;-— and, from the 
Britifh Court, the moft tenderly-anxious Hufband could 
not wifh to banifh his Wife. Bid her keep in her eye the 
bright Example who prefides there ; the fpiendour of 
Whofe rank yields to the fuperior luftre of her Virtue. 

Sir Geo. I allow the force of your argument. Now for 
intelligence \ 

Enter Mrs. Racket, Lady Frances* and Flutter, 
Mrs. Rack. Oh. Heav'ns ! do you know— — 
Flut. Let me tell the ftory. — As foon asDoricourt— -= 

Mrs. Rack. I proteft you fha'n't — faid Mr. Hardy 

Flut. No, 'twas Doricourt fpoke firft— fays he— No, 
'twas the Parfon — fays he- 
Mrs. Rack. Stop his mouth, Sir George— he'll fpoit 
the tale. 

Sir Geo. Never heed circum fiances — the refult — the 
Mult. 

Mrs. Rack. No, no ; you (hall have it in form Mr* 

Hardy performed the Sick Man like an Angel. — He fat 

up 



78 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM; 

up in his bed, and talked Co pathetically, that the tears 
flood in Doricourt's eyes. 

Flut. Aye, flood — they did not drop, but flood. — I 
fhall, in future, be very -exacl: : The Parfon feized the 
moment ; you know, they never mifs an opportunity. 

Mrs. Rack. Make hafte, faid Doricourt; if I have 
time to reflect, poor Hardy will die unhappy. 

Flut. They were got as far as the Day of Judgment, 
When we flipt out of the room. 

Sir Geo. Then, by this time, they muft have reached 
Ama%ement$ which, every body knows* is the end of Ma- 
trimony; 

Mrs. Rack. Aye, the Reverend fathers ended the fer- 
vice with that word, Prophetically — to teach the Bride 
what a capricious Monfter a Hufband is. 

Sir Geo. I rather think it was Sarcaftically — to prepare 
the Bridegroom for the anreafonable humours and va- 
garies of his Help-mate; 

Lady Fran. Here comes the Bridegroom of to-night; 
Enter Dorieourt and Villers. — Villers whifpers Saville^ 
who goes out. 

Qmnes. Joy ! joy ! joy ! 

Mifs Ogle. If 'he's a fample of Bridegrooms, keep me 
Jingle! — A younger Brother, from the Funeral of his 
Father, could not carry a more fretful countenance. 

Flut. Oh ! — Now, he's melancholy mad, I fuppofe. 

Lady Fran. You do not confider the importance of the 
occafion, 

WML No 5 nor how {hocking a thing it is for a Man 
to be forced to marry one Worn an whilft his heart is 
devoted to another. 

Mrs, Rack. Well, now 'tis over, I confefs to you, 
Mr. Doricourt, I think 'twas a moft ridiculous piece of 
Quixotifm, to give up the happinefs of a whole life to a 
Man who perhaps has but a few moments to be fenfible 
cf the facrifke. 

FluU. 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 79 

Flut. So it appeared to me. — But, thought I, Mr. 
Doricourt has travelled— he knows bcft. 

Dork. Zounds! Confuhon ! — Did ye not all fet upon 
me ?— -Didrrt ye talk to me of Honour — Companion— ■ 
juftice? 

Sir Geo. Very true — You have acted according to their 
dictates, and 1 hope the utrnoft felicity of the Married 
State will reward you. 

Doric. Never, Sir George! To Felicity I bid adieu— 
but I will endeavour to be content. Where is my — I 
mult fpeak it — where is my Wife? 

Enter Letitia, majked. led by Saville. 

Sav, Mr. Doricourt, this Lady was prefling to be in« 
troduced to yo;u. 

Doric. Oh! (Starting.) 

Letit. I told you laft night, you fhou'd fee me at a time 
when you leaft expected me — and I have kept my promife. 

Fill. Whoever you are, Madam, you could not have 
arrived at a happier moment. — Mr. Doricourt is juft 
married. 

Letit. Married ! Impoflible ! 'Tis but a few hours fince 
he fwore to me eternal Love : I believ'd him, gave him 
up my Virgin heart — and now ! — Ungrateful Sex ! 

Doric. Your Virgin heart! No, Lady my fate, 

thank Heaven ! yet wants that torture. Nothing but 
the conviction that you was another^, could have made 
me think one moment of Marriage, to have faved the lives 
of half Mankind. But this vifit, Madam, is as barbarous 
as unexpected. It is now my duty to forget you, which, 
fpite of your fituation, I found difficult enough. 

Letit. My fituation !— What fituation? 

Doric. I muft apologife for explaining it in this com- 
pany — but, Madam, I am not ignorant, that you are the 
companion of Lord George Jennet — and this is the only 
circumftance that can give me peace. 

Itdit. I— a Companion ! Ridiculous pretence ! No, Sir, 

know 



go THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

&now, to your confufion, that my heart, my honour, my 
name is unfpotted as her's you have married ; my birth 
equal to your own, my fortune large.— That, and my per- 
fon, might have been your's. — Bur, Sir, farewell ! [Going, 

Doric* Oh, ftay a moment— Rafcal I is fhe not — ■ — 

Fhd. Who, fne ? O Lard ! no — 'Twas quite a differ-* 
ent perfon that I meant.— I never Taw that Lady before. 
Doric. Then, never fhalt thou fee her more. 

[Shakes Flutter. 

Mrs. 'Rack. Have mercy upon the poor Man ! Hea* 
vens ! He'll murder him. 

Doric. Murder him ! Yes, you, myfelf, and all Man«* 
kind. Sir George — Saville — Villers — 'twas you who 
pufh'd me on this precipice 'tis you who have fhatchM 
from me joy, felicity, and lire. 

Mrs. Rack, There ! Now, how well he acls the Mad- 
man This is fomething like ! I knew he would do it 
well enough, wJhen the time came. 

Dork. Haid-hearted Woman ! enjoy my ruin — rio$ 
jn my wretchednefs. ('Hardy burfts in.) 

Hardy. This is too much P You are now the Hufband 
of my Daughter ; and how dare you ihew all this paijioa 
about another Woman ? 

Doric. Alive again ! 

Hardy, Alive ! aye, and merry. Here, wipe off the flour 
from my face. I was never in better health and fpirits in 
jny life. — I forefaw 'twould do. — W T hy, my illnefs was 
©nly a fetch, Man ! to make you marry Letty. 

Doric. It was ! Bafe and ungenerous ! Well, Sir, you 
|hal} be gratified, The pofleffion of my heart was no ob- 
ject either with You, or your Daughter. My fortune and 
jiame was all you defired, and thefe — I leave ye. My 
native England I (ball quic, nor ever behold you more, 
But, Lady, that in my exile I may have one confolation, 
grant me the favour you denied lafl night j— - let me behold 



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 81 



all that mafk conceals, that your whole image may be im- 
prefs'd oh my heart, and chear my diftant folitary hours, 
Letit. 'This is the moft awful moment of my life. Oh, 
Doricourt, the flight action of taking off my Mafk, 
ftamps me the moft bleft or miferable of Women \ 

Doric. What can this mean ? Reveal your face, I con- 
jure you. 

Letit. Behold it. 

Doric. Rapture ! Tranfport ! Heaven t 

Flut. Now for a touch of the happy Madman.' 

Fill. This fcheme was mine. 

Letit. I will not allow that. This little ftratagem 
arofe from my difappointment, in not having made the 
impreffion oh you I wifh'd. The timidity of the Englifli 
character threw a veil over me, you could not penetrate. 
You have forced me to emerge in fome meafure from my 
natural referve, and to throw off the veil that hid me. 

Doric. I am yet in a ftate of intoxication— 1 cannot 
anfwer you, — Speak on, fweet Angel ! 

Letit. You fee 1 can be any thing ; chufe then my cha- 
racter — your Tafte (hall fix it. Shall I be an Englijh 
Wife ? — or, breaking from the bonds of Nature and Edu- 
cation, ftep forth to the world in all the captivating glare 
of Foreign Manners ? 

Doric. You fhall be nothing but yourfelf— nothing can 
be captivating that you are not. I will not wrong your 
penetration by pretending that you won my heart at the 
iirft interview; but you have now my whole foul — your 
perfon, your face, your mird, I would not exchange for 
thofe of any other Woman breathing. 

Hard. A dog I how well he makes up for paft flights! 
Coufin Racket, I wifh you a good Hufband with all my 
heart. Mr. Flutter, Til believe every word you fay this 
fortnight. Mr. Villers, you and I have managed this 
to a T. I never was fo merry in my life*— 'Gad, I be- 
lieve I can dance, ( Footing.) 

M Dork" 



82 THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM. 

Doric. Charming, charming creature ! 

Letit. Congratulate me, my dear friends ! Can yep 
conceive my happinefs ? 

Hard. No, congratulate me ; for mine is the greateft. 

Flui. No, congratulate me, that I have efcaped with 
life, and give me fome flicking plafter — this wild cat has 
torn the fkin from my throat. 

Sir Geo I expect to be among the firft who are con- 
gratulated—for I have recovered one Angel, while Do- 
ricourt has gained another. 

Hard. Pho ! pho 1 Don't talk of Angels, we fliall be 
happier by half as Mortals. Come into the next room ; 
I nave order'd out eve ry drop of my Forty-eight, and I'll 
invite the whole parifh of St. George's, but what we'll 
drink it out — except one dozen, which I fhall keep under 
three double locks, for a certain Chriftening that I fore« 
fee will happen within this twelvemonth. 

Doric. My charming Bride ! It was a ftrange perver- 
fion of Tafte, that led me to confider the delicate timi- 
dity of your deportment, as the mark of an uninform'd 
mind, or inelegant manners. I feel now it is to that 
innate modefty, EngHJh Hufbands owe a felicity the Mar- 
ried Men of other nations are ftrangers to : it is a facred 
Veil to your own charms ; it is the fureft bulwark to your 
Hufband "s honour; and curfed be the hour — fhould it 
ever arrive — in which Britifn Ladies (hall facrifige to 
foreign Graces the Grace of Modefty ! 



f I N I $, 



C »3 J 



EPILOGUE, 



J^T^ Y 7 ceafe, and hear me — / am come to fcold— 

Whence this night's plaudits, to a thought fo old ? 
To gain a Lever ; hid behind a Mafk ! 
JVhat's new in that ? or where' 's the mighty tajk ? 
For inflance, now— What Lady Bab, or Grace 9 
E'er won a Lover — in her natural Face ? 
Mijiake me not — French red, or blanching creams^ * 
Jjloop not to— 'for thofe are hackney d themes j 
The arts 1 mean, are harder to deieel, 
fiafter put on, and worn to more effed - ? — 
As thus 

Do Pride and Envy, with their horrid lines^ 
Dejlroy th' effeel of Nature's jweet defigns ? 
fhe Majk of Softnefs is at once applied, 
And gentlejl manners ornament the Bride ? 

Do thoughts too free inform the V flal's eye, 
Or point the glance, or warm the Jlruggling ftgh P 
JSfot Dian's brows more rigid looks difclofe ; 
And Virtue's blujh appears, where Paffion glows. 

. And you, my gentle Sirs, wear Vizors too $ 
But here I'll Jlrip you, and expofe to view 

Your hidden features Firjl I point at you, 

That well-fluff 3 d waiflcoat, and that ruddy cheeky 
7 hat ample forehead, and that fkin fo fleek, 
Point out good-nature, and a gen'rous heart 
Tyrant f Jland forth, and, confeious, own thy part ; 
Thy Wife, thy Children, tremble in thy eye ; 
And Peace is banijk' d—vjhen the Father '$ nigh. 



! 



t 24 1 

$ure *tis enchantment ! See, from ev*ry fidt 
The Majks fall off! — In charity I hide 
Ths monflrous features rujhing to my view—* 
Fear not, there ^ Grand-Papa—nQryou—naryout 
For Jhould I foew your features to each other. 
Not one amongfl ye'd know his Friend, or Brother* 
'Tis plain, then, all the world, from Youth to Age^ 
Appear in Majks — Here, only, on the Stage^ 
Tou fee us as we are : Here trufi your eyes 5 
Our wijh to pleafe 9 admits of no difguife. 



if. n,n , ..mm; .1-,.,, I, ■ 1 • -rioT 1 - 1 n utn ' " -a 

Of the Publifher may be had % 

By the fame Author^ 

The Runaway, a Comedy. 

Ale in a, a Tragedy. 

Who's the Dupe ? a Farce. 

Which is the Man ? a Comedy. 

Bold Stroke for a Husband, a Comedy, 

More Ways than One, a Comedy. 

A School for Greybeards, a Comedy. 

Scottish Village, a Poem. 

Ti; e Maid of Arracon, a Poem, Part L 

■ v * The whole of Mrs. Cowley'/ Dramatic Works, tk 
have been publijhed, may be had in One Volume*